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Painted Cave yields lots of life

Thursday, September 7, 2016 – Whales, dolphins and sea lions “flocked’ to the Condor Express today as Captain Dave and his renowned crew mastered the sea conditions for another epic adventure near the Painted Cave.  There was an uncommon southeasterly wind blowing in the Santa Barbara Channel, and this generated a moderate surface chop.  The islands formed a natural wind and swell barrier and all along the north face of Santa Cruz conditions were fabulous and the following mammal sightings were made:  3 humpback whales, 1500 long-beaked common dolphins and over 500 California sea lions.

With the strange winds blowing, Dave initially steered a course for the west end of Santa Cruz Island.  There were small patches of California sea lions here and there, but no cetaceans.  At the island, Dave cast his magic spell over the humans on board with his orientation about the island’s geological origin, colonization and habits of the prehistoric peoples, the pre- and post-war use for ranching, wine production, and the amazing conservation successes attributed to the modern caretakers of this paradise.

His tour also included a trip inside the mouth of the world-famous Painted Cave.  The Cave and northern face of the island had ideal sea conditions, as described above.  Not far off the island, and on our way back into the Channel, there was a biomass bonanza.  All the dolphins and whales were seen here, and a massive mega mob of at least 300 sea lions was also working this hot spot.  It was spectacular.

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

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