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The Gray Whale Parade

2015 12-18 SB Channel

A gorgeous day in the Santa Barbara Channel with hazy warm sun, clear skies, not much wind over all and zero wind most of the day.   Swells were 1 to 2 feet with long intervals. Good thing we all wore sunscreen. It was also a great day for gray whales heading south, with 4 watched closely and perhaps more in the distance (was it a gray, humpback or island wall-crawl wave wash?).

Not more than a few minutes after delivering his famous California sea lion talk at the outer harbor buoy, Captain Dave had us at a safe viewing distance alongside the first of our gray whales. It was a small one and frankly, I have no idea how El águila spotted it in the first place as it was a “stealth” whale.   It’s splashguard barely broke the glassy surface once to spout, and that was it. Amazing eyesight for sure.

About a half-hour later we located a mid-Channel gray whale. This was much larger and had a lot of girth, perhaps another pregnant female heading down to Baja California to give birth as fast as she can. This whale was up on the surface most of the time and we had fantastic looks at it…especially through the very clear water. While we were enjoying this sighting, a small pod of 75 or so long-beaked common dolphins came over to both of us (the Condor Express and the gray whale) and we both had our bow/head wave surfed.

Just after high noon found us south of The Lanes and near Santa Cruz Island were we located a pair of adult gray whales, which rounded out the total count of 4 seen today. This pair gave good looks too, and even fluked-up once in a while to thrill the whale fans on board. This last sighting was followed with one of Captain Dave’s nice island tours which brought us to the eastern end of Santa Cruz Island and wonderful Potato Harbor where lots of California sea lions were observed.

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

¤ Photos should be up tomorrow.

¤ Don’t forget we run every day between Christmas and New Year’s week end.

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