The first day of summer started with a bang.
2017 06-20 SB Channel
The first day of summer started with a bang. 7 blue whales, 3 humpback whales and 600 or so long-beaked common dolphins were closely watched today. Additional blue and humpback whales were seen in the distance. There was sun intermixed with low stratus as we left Santa Barbara Harbor. Even though the NOAA NWS predicted calm winds and seas, the westerly breeze increased and kicked up some moderate wind waves. By the time we neared the blue whale grounds near Santa Cruz Island it was mostly sunny with some decent waves coming from the west.
Several miles south of Santa Barbara Harbor a herd of several hundred dolphins were located as they moved from one school of anchovies to the next. As they moved around they came to the Condor Express and rode some of our waves. As the breeze freshened-up and the wind waves got larger, the active surfing by the dolphins got more and more fun to watch. With all the dolphin feeding going on, humpbacks soon came into the area. There were two, one large and one small. The consensus was that it was a mother humpback and her calf.
Not long after crossing The Lanes our first 2 giant blue whales put up giant spouts. They, and most all the giants today, were spread out across a 1-mile swath of ocean. More spouts were seen, especially to the west from whence the wind and waves were originating. We spotted a third giant, which was soon joined by 4 of its species, and the giant-watching was wild. There were blue whales all around us. Their tall spouts were being whipped up by the breeze. When the giants did their typical post-dive circular surface swim they were seen busting through the on-coming swells. This was a feast for the eyes to be sure.
On the way home a single massive humpback whale breach occurred and slowed to watch the humpback and another hundred or so dolphins before getting back on course for Santa Barbara.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express