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Overcast, gray morning with mirror glass, dolphins, gray whales and sea lions.

Image: Gray whales mating/socializing in the Santa Barbara Channel.

 

2024 03-20 SB Channel 

 

A single 9 AM excursion ran today. Skies had a thick stratus layer that kept everything very gray. There was no sun at all. On the plus side, there was also no wind and the ocean surface was mirror-glass. Sightings for the day included: 4 gray whales, 1500 long-beaked common dolphins, and 60 California sea lions

 

Right out of the harbor, we turned and ran west along the coast. We found a single juvenile gray whale near More Mesa. After good looks, our route continued moving up the coast. When we were 2 miles west of platform Holly we found a trio of gray whales. They were all adults. There was quite a bit of rolling around and socializing going on (see today's photo for an example). They showed good tail flukes and, as a bonus, their dive times were very short. 

 

During our trip back to the harbor, we found two pods of common dolphins. The first was near Hendry’s and consisted of a small, but very tight pod, of about 200 animals. The second, located off the lighthouse, was a much larger mega pod and was spread out over a big swath of water.  There were lots of birds, and some birdnados. Two groups of about 30 California sea lions each were in the mix chasing down anchovies.

 

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

 

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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