The peak of the mother-calf gray whale migration

2016 04-24 SB Coast Peak of the mother-calf gray whale migration.

Captain Eric took command of three excursions today and had great cetacean findings on all of them.  The day started off with a mild breeze and a bit of chop from the west, and ended with a much stronger wind on top of the bump.  Hearty whale watchers were rewarded for their bravery.  Here are the stories:

9 am Right out of Santa Barbara Harbor, at Stearns Wharf, the first two gray whales and mother-calf pairs of the day were encountered.  (A total of 18 gray whales, 9 mother-calf pairs were found in total for all three trips).  The Condor Express followed this first pair up to Shoreline Park where 4 more gray whales (2 mother-calf pairs) were seen in the shallow water kelp forest.  These four were rolling in kelp, spy-hopping, and generally behaving the way young mammals of all kinds do.  A bit outside of these kelping whales yet another pair were heading west.  The gray whales were complimented by sightings of 6 inshore bottlenose dolphins, 200 long-beaked common dolphins, and, a bit further offshore, 2 large humpback whales…one of which was Rope, our old friend.

12 noon Salty whale watchers from the big cruise ship came ashore only to head back out right away on the Condor Express.  This group closely watched yet another 2 gray whale mother-calf pairs as they worked their way up the coast towards Campus Point.  Four inshore bottlenose dolphins were also watched.

3 pm By departure time, the late afternoon trip was greeted with the strong winds mentioned above in the first paragraph.  These winds from the west caused Captain Eric to head “down hill” and run east with the wind and waves behind him.  The near shore search for gray whales led him as far east as the Carpinteria Pier where 6 gray whales (3 mother-calf pairs) were located and closely watched.

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

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