2022 09-03-SB Channel
It was shirt-sleeve weather in the Channel today under blue skies and with calm seas. A gentle, long-period swell rolled through from the west. Sightings were great, including: 2 Minke whales, 4+ humpback whales, 400 short-beaked common dolphins and 2000 long-beaked common dolphins. Once again, our dedicated crew located and retrieved a deflated, floating Mylar balloon from the ocean surface to protect marine animals.
Long-beaked common dolphins first appeared when a few scattered, small groups found the Condor Express about 3 miles from the harbor entrance. Amidst these groups we watched our first of two Minke whales. This first Minke was much friendlier than the second. It made several passes by the boat, up and down both sides and crossed our bow.
A few miles further south brought more long-beaks and the second Minke. The shy one. About this time the crew spotted and hauled-in the aforementioned balloon.
After moving further south to an area around the NOAA East Santa Barbara Channel Buoy, we had a long session with short-beaked common dolphins. As they often are, the pod was highly animated, aerial and acrobatic. A bit of tail-walking was also observed.
Changing course to the northwest, our first of two pairs of humpback whales was located 6 miles north of Holly with a large pod of short-beaks and hundreds of feeding sea birds. It was a mother humpback with her calf, and the little one had distinctive white-bottomed pectoral flippers and a pure white belly. It did some rolling around and spent time on its back with its gorgeous flippers both in the air.
On the way home, and a few miles south of Goleta Bay, a second pair of humpbacks was feeding along with several hundred additional long-beaks. Some near-surface lateral lunge-feeding was observed as the hot spot centered around a large school of northern anchovies.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com