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West is the best for Humpback Whales on the Condor Express Today

A group of several humpback whales are seen off the far western Santa Barbara coast.

The sun shined brightly in the Channel today, the sea surface ranged from rippled to mirror glass, and there was practically no swell at all. Fog could be seen down east in the morning, but by noon the entire Channel was visible. It was a day full of wide spread life and ocean hot spots, as it has been for the past month, and the Condor Express shifted its focus up to the west.

Captain Mat steered the boat and its eager passengers due south out of Santa Barbara Harbor. It was not too far offshore that he got us situated on a large group of common dolphins, sea birds and, you guessed it, humpback whales. Although most of the anchovy eating was sub surface, one humpback did take a big gulp right in front of the boat and spouted at the same time to make itself look more fierce than it already was. After watching this hot spot, we decided to travel west and explore a new region of the Channel, given that the sea conditions were very cooperative for traveling up hill. After 15 or 10 minutes on this westerly course heading, we saw numerous spouts inshore of our location, which at that point was 6 or 8 miles south of Goleta. Reports from several of our colleagues that captain crew boats up in this neck of the woods confirmed that there was abundant activity west of Platform Holly and the UCSB campus. Before long we found ourselves surrounded by dolphins and humpback whales. We hopped from one hot spot to another stopping the boat to enjoy the mammals. Towards the end of our adventure we had run west of Elwood, west of the Bacarra, west of Naples and were just a few miles off El Capitan. Hot, sunny, glassy weather made the whale watching all the more vibrant.

I’ll post up today’s shots no later than tomorrow morning

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