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Orcas !

2016 11-25 SB Channel

It was a bumpy ride during the first half of the Santa Barbara Channel crossing, calming quite a bit in The Lanes. Here the choppy surface and big swells became a smooth surface with a long period (but still large) ground swell.  It was sunny thereafter.  The surprise and treat for the day was a group of killer whales (7).  Also seen were 1500 short-beaked common dolphins and several mega-mobs totaling at least 1,000 California sea lions.

The dolphins found the Condor Express and, as has become customary lately when short-beaks are encountered, there were lots and lots of high-flyers all around. The super pod was moving from west to east and we watched them for about 20 minutes.

Captain Eric and his crew continued east and a small patch of splashing with sunlight reflecting was spotted ahead. Soon we were amidst a pod of Bigg’s killer whales (Orcinus orca) which had split into 2 subgroups.  One group was made up of a large female and 2 smaller adult females.  The other group was perhaps 100 yards away and contained 4 more whales, for a total of 7.  We stayed with these wonderful beasts for nearly 2 hours during which time they frequently visited the boat and swam under it.  Fantastic looks were had by all.

Some of the nearby mega-mobs of sea lions were seen to individually take off on a high speed run as the killer whales came into their vicinity. No attacks or practice attacks were seen.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express

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