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Seven Gray Whales and a few Breaches in the Breeze

We ran both a 9am morning adventure as well as a noon, early afternoon trip today. There was a funny wind situation which ranged from hot Santa Ana winds near Santa Barbara Harbor and down east, to moderate west winds coming down the Santa Barbara Channel as we ran west. The winds caused only a moderate chop and because the day was so bright and sunny we had great cetacean sightings. Did I mention that the water clarity off the beach is still pristine and blue?

Although there was only one northbound gray whale on the morning adventure, it was a straight-ahead, never deviating from its course, kinda #whale. The experience and skills of Captain Dave kept us at an optimum viewing distance alongside this mammal, and watching it bust through the on-coming seas was really spectacular.   Two groups of long-beaked common dolphins also came to play in the morning. The first group of #dolphins was large, at least 500, and scattered around a wide swath of ocean. The second pod was only about 20 animals, but they were very close to shore and actively feeding upside down and causing the little anchovies to burst out of the water.

The noon trip started with two gray whales just outside the Harbor entrance buoy, and almost immediately one of the pair breached (just once) nicely. We bumped into the swells and seas to follow this pair up to Hendry’s and had great looks all the way. At one point the pair did seem to “stall out” in a kelpy area, and caused us to re-locate them, but it did not take long. We ran the outside loop back east to search for more cetaceans with the wind and seas behind us. After a while one of our friends, Mason, called on the cell phone to let us know about another pair of whales. You guessed it, they were just outside the Harbor. We watched for a while and as we turned away to head in to the docks, all the passengers on the sun deck had their cameras and binoculars focused eastward on a third pair of gray whales because one of the two was breaching.   We must have seen 8 or 10 breached at a moderate distance from the boat. What a day!

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

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