2020 07-29 SB Channel
Five wonderful cetacean species today!
Skies were mostly gray from a high stratus layer, but a few sunny “sucker holes” developed here and there to inspire all the nature lovers on board the Condor Express. Sightings included five different species: 4+ giant blue whales, 100 Risso’s dolphins, 100 offshore bottlenose dolphins, 200 long-beaked common dolphins and 1000 short-beaked common dolphins. All of the above were watched closely unless otherwise noted below.
Two medium-sized pods of long-beaked common dolphins located the boat between 8 and 10 miles out from Santa Barbara Harbor. They were very boat-friendly today and Captain Colton stayed a while to enjoy their company. We’d see a small pod on our way home and very close to the harbor.
Continuing south and in The Lanes, on our way to the land of the giants, we intersected an amazingly active and aerial mega pod of short-beaked common dolphins. The animals were leaping constantly and numerous instances of very “high-flying” jumps were witnessed. A few moments of tail-walking rounded out their repertoire.
Further south a temporary sunny spot (aka, sucker hole) opened up and in the bright blue water a tight group of about 100 Risso’s dolphins were spotlighted. This particular group hung closely around the Condor Express. They were, according to Captain Colton, “the best Risso’s he’s ever seen.” The group also synchronized their dive/surface cycles so as one half of them went down, the other half came up.
Soon after our magical, sunlit, Risso’s sighting, a pod of 100 offshore bottlenose dolphins came through the area. They appeared to be single-mindedly moving to the east and only a few instances of friendly behavior were recorded.
The final sighting of the day was in the land of the giants. The blue whale hotspot was just east of Carrington Point at Santa Rosa Island. Although by all accounts of spouts near and far, the zone had as many as 20 beasts present, we closely watched 4 today. Several nice tail flukes were seen.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com