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Thousands of marine mammals and it’s glassy again!

2021 08-31 SB Channel

Our Captain Colton, famous up and down the waterfront, and the crew transected the entire Channel and found plenty of cetaceans coming and going. Once again, seas were glass flat and without wind. The high gray stratus was interrupted by sunny patches later in the trip. Sightings were, once again, phenomenal: 12+ humpback whales, 2 Minke whales (fleeting glances only), 5 coastal bottlenose dolphins, 5000 long-beaked common dolphins and 1 deflated, helium, Mylar “Happy Birthday” balloon (retrieved by Mr. Gaff, deckhand Devin, using his famous right arm-swing method).

At the mouth of the harbor a small cluster of coastal bottlenose dolphins made a few friendly visits to the boat as they led us into the East Beach Anchorage. We had nice looks before veering back to our southerly course.

Five miles out from Santa Barbara Harbor and the bottlenose the first of many long-beaked common dolphin pods located us. We’d see many more pods that were much larger especially in the humpback hot spots.

About 3 miles before we got to the NOAA East Channel Buoy one of those larger dolphin groups (with sea birds, of course) yielded our first 3 humpback whales. There were two single juveniles and a large adult with a huge tail. A smidge south brought us another big adult whale.

Just east of the buoy we watched 2 more single whales, then 2 additional large adults in The Lanes, with lots of additional spouts in the near distance. Colton broke off after some wonderful looks and took us on a tour of the majestic sea cliffs of Santa Cruz Island from the Painted Cave east to Cueva Valdez.

After the tour and a look inside the outermost chamber of Painted Cave, we headed home and watched an additional 4 whales, with more in the area.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com MarineBioPhotography.com

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