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Shearwater bonanza

2016 5-30 SB Channel

Captain Eric took the Condor Express through a lot of nice wildlife today and ended with a trip out to Cavern Point near the eastern end of Santa Cruz Island.  Conditions were prime with calm seas and a light overcast sky/marine layer.  Eric says the green inshore waters had cleared up a lot today.  Here’s the story:

Not even a mile off the East Beach Anchorage there were 200+ long-beaked common dolphins moving through widely scattered little areas of bait causing a lot of upside down feeding action.  We followed the dolphin spots to the west, and around Hendry’s bent offshore.  On the 50 fm line several hundred more dolphins and three humpback whales were located and watched.  The whales were on the move and did not appear to be slowing down or stopping to feed.  Several tail flukes were shown.

The entire middle of the Santa Barbara Channel was black with enormous flocks of sooty shearwaters sitting on the water.  These trans-Pacific migrants come here to feed on the same fish as the dolphins and whales, and also to molt before heading back on a journey that ends up taking them to  the southern islands off New Zealand, Australia and South America.  Although we saw many thousands today, their population is declining due to degradation of their nesting habitats.

Around mid-Channel the dolphins were no longer seen, and we took the time to run to the eastern end of Santa Cruz Island.  Many of the nice protected harbors such as Potato were full of holiday sailors and yachts, but we did run the majestic face of the Island down to Cavern Point taking advantage of the wonderful sea conditions.

By the end of the trip our cetacean totals were three humpback whales and over 3,000 dolphins.

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

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