Warm weather and hot sightings.

2021 03-31 SB CHANNEL

There were mild Santa Ana weather conditions in our neck of the Channel today without the usual winds. The 80F air temps made for shirtsleeve weather on flat, calm seas. The warm weather brought us hot sightings: 5 humpback whales, 3 gray whales, 25 Pacific white-sided dolphins and 40+ California sea lions. Two tours were conducted: 9a and 12n.

On the morning run our first cetacean of the day was a lone humpback whale located about 4 miles south of the UCSB campus. It was spotted due to the huge numbers of highly active seabirds that were attracted to its feeding. (All of the feeding today was sub-surface, but very shallow). Further offshore a large adult humpback whale was sighted and we found that it spent long surface intervals “logging” on the surface between foraging dives. It kicked up and showed a massive tail. On the trip home, and about 3 miles from Santa Barbara Harbor, a nice pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins located the boat and not only played closely around the Condor Express, but also attracted yet another small humpback. The small humpback vocalized frequently and interacted with the dolphins.

Noon found us with a trio of northbound gray whale adults about 3 miles out from Shoreline Park. We had great looks as these grays led us west to our final humpback of the day. It was another huge adult.

Throughout the day, mobs of California sea lions accompanied the humpbacks we watched. They dove frequently as the humpbacks fed below the surface and, after each dive, the smaller mobs of 10 or more came together to rest, vocalize and socialize as a large mass of brown fur with big eyes.

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

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