2020 09-23 SB Channel East
Overcast skies near the mainland coast broke open and we were in mostly sunny conditions out in the land of the giants today. The sea surface was for the most part mirror glass and it was just wonderful when cetaceans are added to the picture. Sightings for today included: 10 giant blue whales (6 watched closely), and 1500 long- beaked common dolphins. All of the action was off the northeast corner of beautiful Santa Cruz Island.
We began to encounter small scattered pods of dolphins when we were about 8 miles off the mainland coast. Most of these were feeding pods and they were lots of fun to watch. About 30 min later we would get into a mega pod with at least 1000 animals. Among these dolphins there were a lot of mother with their calves. They interrupted their feeding to come play with the boat and to “show off” their youngsters to their fans on board.
Just after noon we found ourselves on the edge of the land of the giants. We ended up watching six different giant blue whales one at a time. One was a smaller subadult whale and all the rest were fairly large. A different whale looked a little bit skinny. One the last ones we watched kicked-up its tail flukes 100 yards or so away from the boat … nice to see. We closely watched six giant blue whales but there were at least four more in the near vicinity. Due to the time constraints we didn’t get a chance to closely observe the other whales.
By the way, this is the perfect example of why we’re running an eight hour trip coming up this Saturday: so we can get around to all the animals with plenty of time to enjoy them without having to come back to the dock early. More about that later…
The shipping lanes were active today. We saw one southbound vessel, a 199.9 meter long, 62,105 ton, car carrier, Viking Destiny, heading for Port Hueneme. A northbound container cargo vessel, was 336 meters long and 98,747 tons. Sadly at one point the car carrier was heading right into the whale zone. The nearest whale dove down immediately, about 100 meters in front of its bow. We did not see any evidence of a collision and we assume everything was fine. It should be mentioned that the car carrier was traveling fairly slowly already, only 9 knots, since it was on its approach into port.
SPECIAL TRIP NOTICE We still have spots left on our up-coming 8-hour whale watch! Mark your calendar for Saturday September 26. The trip departs promptly at 8am and returns sometime after 4pm. Sign up at: www.condorexpress.com Hope to see you on board Sign up now before our reduced passenger load sells out.
A special, free “Big Bird Special Raffle” will be held with all passengers eligible (did I mention it’s free?). Prizes may include: free lunches at Condor Café, free digital photo packages of the trip by Adam Ernster, and…free trip tickets (for our standard 4 ½ hour excursions…value $109).
Whales of many species, several kinds of dolphins, sharks Mola mola, pelagic birds, gelatinous animals…who knows what Mother Nature has in store? Four of the 8 southern California islands are in our range depending on sea conditions and location of species.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express, and CondorExpressPhotos.com