The Condor ran three trips today: 9a, 12n and 3p. The day was sunny and hot in Santa Barbara, and out on the Channel it was simply perfect. The 9am trip ran with mirror glass seas and (obviously) no wind what so ever. The trip ran southeast and crossed paths with at least 75 long-beaked common dolphins that were scattered across the zone. One of our naturalists, Debbie, spotted the first whale and it was a beast of a humpback. It took one breath and down she went…this was a huge, dark animal. Before long a second humpback #whale, our friend “Top Notch” came up and we got several good breathing cycles out of it before we left the scene and ran north towards the shore. Not far from Santa Barbara Harbor we found three adult gray whales engaged in swimming, rolling around and one of the trio breached fairly close to the boat twice. They were slowly trending east.
The 12 noon trip took us east along the coast where we hooked up with a single and very cooperative gray whales off the Hammond’s Reef area. The whale was very regular and came up close to the Condor on several occasions. Great looks were had by all. After a while we left the single whale and headed east searching for additional fertile pastures. Out in 200 feet of water off Hope Ranch we began seeing many many spouts of all sizes. The closest to us turned out to be a pair of adult humpback whales heading northbound. They practiced synchronized swimming as they surfaced and dove together side by side.
At 3pm the Condor ran the outside 50 fm curve looking for humpbacks without luck, but they did see at least 10 bottlenose #dolphins, 200 or so long-beaked common dolphins, and a pair of gray whales too. The whales were found heading northbound off Hendry’s Beach. All in all it was a spectacular day.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express
Look for photos online sometime Sunday, and don’t forget to set your clock ahead.