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Spectacular Dolphins and Humpback Whales

2015 08-25 SB Channel

We ran west, well really it was southwest and encountered our first area of migrating humpback whales at 1045 am.   The #whales were accompanied by 500 or so long-beaked common dolphins. It was flat and glassy. The skies were partly cloudy with high, sub-tropical moisture. The day was warm when the boat stopped on cetaceans, otherwise very pleasant. Santa Barbara cobalt persists out in the Channel. Many of these dolphins had little “Tom Brady” football-sized calves.

At 1130 am a larger area of humpback whale activity was observed, with more spouts in binocular range. Yet another 500 long-beaked common dolphins played around the area. Many of these #dolphins were acting frisky and “socializing” quite a bit. Around noon Captain Dave steered a course for the west end of beautiful Santa Cruz Island and a trip inside the world-famous Painted Cave. His island narration is not to be missed. He is a gentleman and a scholar.

What fun we had around 130pm. We were north of the Lanes and on our way home when we found 500 short-beaked common dolphins in mirror glass waters. They were highly animated with loads of chin slaps, tail slaps, breaches, and semi-breach “tail walks.” A few calves were mixed in as well. Seeing these short-snout cousins of our more typical and abundant long-beaks, was a real treat. About the time Dave was going to pull away and get back on our track back to Santa Barbara, we entered an area with 2 more large humpback whales.

The last sighting of the trip, at 153pm, was a tight area with several large northern anchovy bait balls covered with black-vented shearwaters. Something larger than the tubenose birds must have been attacking them from below, as the whole area was “alive” with jumping little silver fish. It was as if there were small but intense rain squalls causing large drops to hit the water and splash.

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

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