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The hot spots shifted to Santa Cruz Island today!

Image: A mob of California sea lions, Zalophus californianus

2023 05-25 SB Channel

The coastal side of the Channel was overcast and the island half was full of large blue-sky patches. Seas had a light chop and light breeze. Sightings included: 11+ humpback whales, 300 long-beaked common dolphins, 300+ California sea lions and a Santa Cruz Island tour.

We ran across the middle of the Channel while searching our recent hot spots and ended up just 4 miles off the west end of beautiful Santa Cruz Island. Here we watched 6 humpback whales, with more in the area. This zone was full of marauding mobs of sea lions (see today’s photograph), and tons of predatory sea birds. The whales we watched here included a cow-calf pair.

At this point, Captain Dave rand east along the majestic sea cliffs, grottos and caverns along the northern face of the island. He spoke about the geology, paleontology and historic uses of the island including the role of the National Parks and the Nature Conservancy. Dave ended his tour with a wonderful look inside the outer chamber of the world’s longest sea cave, the Painted Cave.

On the way home we drove slowly by a pair of whales, then, later a trio. As we approached the kelp farm (4 miles out from the harbor) we ran alongside a nice pod of long-beaked common dolphins…our last marine mammals of the day.

You never know what mother nature has in store.

Bob Perry

Condor Express, and

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