2021 06-29 SB Channel
A light fog kept the ocean surface glassy and the air temp cool as monsoonal humidity (and slight possibility of rain tomorrow) crept into Santa Barbara. Captain Dave and his crew once again traversed the width of the Channel and had great sightings: 6++ humpback whales, 2500 long-beaked common dolphins and 25 California sea lions.
As has been happening for the past month, the common dolphins were the first marine mammal species to locate the Condor Express in the mist. We were about 5 miles due south of Goleta Bay. The dolphin herds were surrounded by hungry birds, primarily sooty shearwaters and brown pelicans with a few gulls in the mix. The first 2 humpback whales appeared in this dolphin feeding hot spot. It was a mother with her calf and we soon recognized the mother as our old friend, Scarlet, who I have described many times and you can see in my photo today.
Scarlet has a historical habit of mugging the Condor Express and today she once again demonstrated this intriguing behavior alongside her new calf. What a fantastic thing, having a full grown mother humpback show off her calf to her longtime friends on the boat! Three additional, individual humpback whales were also watched here. Many more spouts were seen in the hazy distance.
Captain Dave was heading to do his traditional, weather-permitting tour of the Painted Cave when a pod of at least 100 offshore bottlenose dolphins was encountered. This pod was lively, aerial, acrobatic and had numerous calves. After a tour of the Cave, and the beautiful sea cliffs of Santa Cruz Island, we headed home.
About 7 miles from the harbor we watched our final humpback whale, surrounded by common dolphins. Again, more spouts in the distance…which bodes well for tomorrow if they hang around.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com