2016 06-20 SB Channel
Our exit from Santa Barbara Harbor this morning was greeted by moderate seas and 15 knot winds, both of which came in much earlier than forecast. The ride out to the southwest was slowed down to bolster the comfort level, and no significant sightings took place for the first hour. I should mention that it was bright and sunny all day.
The humpback whales we watched yesterday had moved to the southwest. Thing were looking pretty empty, windy and choppy until the staff photographer saw a breach about a mile away. This would be the first of 7 humpback whales we closely watched. Numerous other humpbacks were around the zone, but would have required pounding into the oncoming seas at the risk of passenger satisfaction, so Captain Dave settled-in and watched the whales that were within our area.
After running to the southwest, it was nice to find a few whales that were coming down-swell to the east. Multitudes of long-beaked common dolphins were creating localized feeding hot spots with seabird activity and all this did attract the whales. By the way, at least 1,600 dolphins were around the boat as the totals for the day were tallied. On one occasion we were watching dolphins and a nice medium-sized ocean sunfish (Mola mola) swam alongside the boat so we had good looks.
Our sightings ended about 5 miles southwest of Habitat when it was time to slowly make our way back home having done a nice survey of cetaceans in the northern half of the Santa Barbara Channel. The good news is the winds and seas are forecast to calm down tomorrow and Wednesday.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express