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More than a dozen humpbacks and over a thousand dolphins on a sunny day in the Channel

Image: A humpback with white tail flukes.

2023 6-24 SB Channel

Captain Dave and the crew took the Condor Express to the east and worked an area not far from the Santa Barbara oil rig line. Seas were moderately bumpy from the west from overnight winds. Skies started with a stratus layer and quickly became sunny. Winds were light to moderate. Sightings included: 12+ humpback whales and 1800 long-beaked common dolphins.

Five miles east of the harbor brought our first of so many dolphin pods, and they were scattered around the areas that we traveled all day. Our first whales were a humpback mother and her calf. The calf did a bit of rolling around near mom which might mean it was soliciting nursing…or not. Thousands of seabirds were also on the site.

Two miles further southeast yielded another cow-calf humpback pair that made a quick pass near the Condor Express. More large groups of dolphins were scattered around and so were the sea birds.

A breach in the distance gave us a new course heading and 5 miles west was an area with lots of dolphins and at 8 closely watched whales. These whales had long dive times and short surface intervals, perhaps an indication that their food was deeper today. One large adult whale had an all-white tail, similar to the whale in today’s photograph.

Many more dolphins were seen on the trip back to the harbor.

You never know what mother nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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