Gray whales in super clear water.

Fourteen gray whales and more

2017 03-11 SB Coast

Captain Dave and his crew observed a total of fourteen gray whales, 200 long-beaked common dolphins and finished it off with 10 coastal bottlenose dolphins.  It was a sunny and warm day.  The day started with a small bump on the ocean surface which decreased through the day.  Sections of the coastal zone featured very clear, transparent water which made the underwater looks at these marine mammals fabulous.  The sightings totals above reflect three excursions which left the docks at 9 am, 12 noon and 3 pm PST.  I mentioned PST because the time changes at 2 am tomorrow morning.

9 am
There were a lot of hot spots with northern anchovies being attacked from the air by various species of sea birds.  The crew kept a watchful eye on these spots hoping they would produce dolphins or fish-eating whales.  Two gray whales were located closer to the beach around Hendry’s and were southbound.  While most whales are heading north, a few late travelers or circular-swimmers are occasionally found heading towards Baja.  One of the two whales in question breached around eight times and sent thrills up and down our spines. Around 200 common dolphins soon found the Condor Express and everyone was happy about that.  On the way home to Santa Barbara we got fast looks at two more gray whales close to the harbor.

12 noon
Two northbound whales were located off Hendry’s Beach.  There was a bit of rolling around with pectoral fins and tail flukes in the air.  Soon a third whale, which may have been associated with the other two, popped up on the port side of the Condor.  We continued west and located three additional whales inside Goleta Bay where the water was very clear and blue.  More rolling around with body parts up in the air was observed.

3 pm
The old Lighthouse produced the first 2 gray whales of this excursion, and then 2 more popped-up in front of the first pair.  We watched the four whales for quite a while,  then we headed off to put ourselves in a position to have common dolphins find us.  This leg of the trip ended east of the harbor near Summerland, and then Captain Dave started his final trip home.  Near the harbor there were about 10 large bottlenose dolphins that were seen feeding on nearshore bait fish. It was a great finish to a day which brought us fourteen gray whales.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Bob Perry
Condor Express

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