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Three different cetaceans today.

2015 11-21 SB Channel

Santa Ana winds were blowing far to the east of us and, per usual, this created almost an ideal summer day in our neck of the Santa Barbara Channel.   It was once again so clear you could see from San Miguel all the way to Bony Ridge and everything on both sides of the Channel in between. After a brief stop for a small pod of 10 long-beaked common dolphins and a mylar balloon rescue (thanks, Auggie), we were off to visit the cetaceans in southern waters today.

Our first major sighting was a much larger pod of long-beaked common dolphins numbering 750 to 1,000 individuals.   There were many little calves in the pod, and if I may say, without being too gross, these animals must have been feeding a lot recently because there were many “brownish grey trails” being left behind the dolphins. Enough said. After about a half hour closely watching these dolphins, there was a very tall spout being highlighted by the bright sun to the south of our position.

The big spout belonged to a medium sized fin whale. As it worked around the area with short down times, it made its way over to the Condor Express for a couple of nice close, friendly visits.   We don’t see fin whales all the time in the Channel, so it’s always a nice occasion when we do. Not far from the fin we located a small humpback whale, which was just a little bit shy.

It was time to head in the general direction of Santa Barbara Harbor, but along the way we found 2 more humpback whales, both large and heading east. Their size was quite a contrast to the small one we’d seen earlier. It turned out that our friend and whale-spotter, Dino, was carrying around a small ocean sunfish (Mola mola) toy/effigy in his pocket all day, without telling anyone. Sure enough, our last sighting was a medium-large Mola ! Hey, Dino, how about carrying a sperm whale effigy next time?

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

I’ll post the rest of today’s photos sometime tomorrow.

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