Thousands of common dolphins, hundreds of bottlenose dolphins, Mola mola and Pacific gray whales.

2022 06-09 Santa Rosa Island

There was another May-June high marine layer all over the northern Channel, along with some moderately choppy seas. This all changed when we crossed The Lanes and went up into the Santa Cruz Channel and Becher’s Bay, Santa Rosa Island. Sightings for the trip included: 5000 long-beaked common dolphins, 200 offshore bottlenose dolphins, 3 Pacific gray whales and several hundred ocean sunfish (Mola mola).

12 miles outbound from Santa Barbara Harbor, and just north of The Lanes, we intercepted a super colossal mega pod of long-beaked common dolphins. The pod was over 2 miles long and, at times, very densely packed. Many hot spots accompanied by vigorous seabird feeding were seen as we passed along the pod’s edge.

South of The Lanes, and just off Fraser Point, Santa Cruz Island, several hundred offshore bottlenose dolphins located us and put on an aerial and acrobatic display that was phenomenal to see. There were many calves in this pod, too.

The same gray whales are still bottom feeding in the soft sediments of Becher’s Bay, Santa Rosa Island. The water here was extremely clear. We could actually see each of the 3 gray whales here (2 adults and 1 juvenile) as they rose up from the sea floor with silt and debris trailing from their mouth, having passed through their baleen filter system.

On the way home, closer to shore, we, again, saw lots of ocean sunfish (Mola mola). It was not so easy to count them today due to the surface chop.

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

Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com

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