2016 12-29 SB Channel
It was a magical day on the ocean in the Santa Barbara Channel. The sea surface was smooth and you could see all 4 Channel Islands from the mainland. Four different species of marine mammals were watched closely today, including 4 Dall’s porpoise, 4 gray whales, 400 long-beaked common dolphins and a mega-mob of at least 300 California sea lions.
North of The Lanes over 400 dolphins found us on our southbound trek towards the south Channel. It was a wonderful moment full of mutual respect and sharing the pristine blue waters. As I reported earlier this week, there were plenty of small calves in the mix. Captain Dave moved on and did his well-researched tour of Santa Cruz Island including a visit to the world’s deepest sea cave, The Painted Cave. The Cave waterfall is not running, but perhaps after the rain expected, it soon will be flowing again.
Outside The Cave a flotilla of 300 or more California sea lions allowed the Condor Express to remain stationary and get some wonderful looks at these highly social and very vocal brown furry mammals. Dave moved west of The Cave and up into the Santa Cruz Channel (between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands). This “gap” between the two largest islands in the chain is a prime migratory path for southbound Pacific gray whales. The whales today did not disappoint. There were 4 grays having been sighted as 1, then 2, then one more. The last one was by far the most friendly and iPhone photos were possible on this beast.
On the way home we were greeted by 4 high-speed Dall’s porpoise.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.