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Mother and Calf Parade

2016 04-26 SB Coast

Oh, my.  Sometimes the marine weatherperson gets it wrong.  Today was supposed to start out breezy then morph into full gale conditions.  Luckily for everyone on the Condor Express today, it started out with a slight breeze and soon went to almost perfect glass calm.  All this and plenty of gray whale mothers and calves on both of our excursions…Captain Dave at the helm.  Here’s the breakdown:

9 am Soon after departing Santa Barbara and getting around the Princess cruise ship, we located our first 2 gray whales of the 8 we watched on this trip.  They consisted of 4 mother-calf pairs.  The first ones were picked up at the Yacht club and watched until we round a second pair about half-way up Shoreline going towards Hendry’s.  These first whales were moving steady to the west and we had great looks.  Around 1030 am Dave accelerated and ran up to the ginormous kelp beds at Isla Vista where 2 more pairs of gray whales, mothers and calves, were traveling and playing in the seaweed.  There was lots of kelping, rolling, spy-hopping and changing course from west to east and back again.

12 noon Our noon trip was a private charter full of sea-going Princess cruise ship folks.  Now bear in mind their ship had spent 2 of the windiest days we’ve seen in years coming down from SF to SB.  And these dedicated whale lovers wanted to get off the big ship and get right back out there on the Condor Express.  Three cheers for hearty Princess whale peeps !!

On this afternoon trip, with glassy seas appreciated even more by the cruisers, we located our gray whale pair up at Hendry’s and followed them almost to More Mesa.  These were “all business, on track, hoping to reach Alaska quickly” whales.  At one point they did have a nice interaction with 4 pesky inshore bottlenose dolphins.  We turned east to look for more wildlife.

Our last marine mammals sighted were in the East Beach “free” anchorage where a dozen or so California sea lions have taken residence on an abandoned old sailboat with a small dinghy tied astern.  The boat is leaning heavily from all that flesh, and the dinghy is almost completely sunken.  What fun !

You never know what Mother Nature has in store…or the weatherperson either! Bob Perry Condor Express

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