2021 08-13 SB Channel – West
It was a hazy lazy day of summer. It was sunny all day long and warm. The sea surface was calm and, in most places, especially to the western end of Gaviota, it was glassy. Sightings for the day included 2 humpback whales, 2000 long-beaked common dolphins, and 4 deflated, helium, mylar balloons which were retrieved from the ocean surface.
Captain Colton and the crew took the boat west and we ran into our first significant patches of dolphins off the Goleta pier. Everything downstream from the natural gas seeps at Coal Oil Point was oily. There were numerous 3 inch long gelatinous animals sometimes thousands in one area floating on the surface. They appeared to have a cylindrical body and some were curved over at one end. I photograph them and I’ll report back after identify them.
Just a little before 11a we stopped and picked up a bright blue “happy birthday” balloon. 20 minutes later we were well into the Gaviota coast line, and scattered groups of common dolphins we’re everywhere. Around 1130 deckhand Adam spotted a pair of whales. It was a mother humpback with her calf. Adam knew this whale by its tail patterns, it was “Chompers,” one of the whales that we see every season. The little calf stayed very close to mom the whole time and if it strayed to the side of mom facing the boat, she would move it back to the protected side. Also both Choppers and her calf we’re showing their tail flukes on every little dive. Interestingly at one point, in lieu of a regular spout, choppers put up a fire hose jet stream into the air.
We continued moving west past Platform Hondo and had more and more common dolphins. They were so great to see on a sunny day with a mirror glass ocean. We moved even further west, past Platform Heritage searching for more cetaceans.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com