There were a few scattered showers today but seas were calm and enabled the Condor Express to take a great tour of our region of the Santa Barbara Channel. Captain Dave and his crew were back on the water after a few weeks in the boat yard undergoing their required USCG inspections and other normal maintenance. One gray whale, 300 long-beaked common dolphins and a lot of very active hot spots full of life were recorded.
A short while out of Santa Barbara Harbor this morning a single, southbound, juvenile gray whale was observed putting on a great show. The little thing breached multiple times. It did some nice chin-slapping and finally, some gorgeous rolling around. The entire encounter lasted about 45 minutes and we were right of the old Santa Barbara Lighthouse. Wow!
With no other spouts in the vicinity, Captain Dave made a run across the Channel to beautiful Santa Cruz Island where he toured the northern sea cliffs and gave his rendition of the island’s geology, paleontology, recent history, and special ecological status. This was followed by a visit to the world’s longest sea cave, the Painted Cave. With all the rain we’ve had this year the Cave Waterfall is once again framing the entrance to the Cave and creating a magical experience for all.
There were no southbound gray whales at the moment (at this point most of them should have been in one of the Baja California Sur lagoons), so our veteran Captain made another great decision. He and his crew made a run back across the Channel but this time took a northeasterly course, ending up in the Flats. The Flats were full of massive bait balls, many very active hot spots featuring the usual cadre of diving and surface-feeding sea birds. It was here that we were approached by a nice herd of dolphins which put a great punctuation point at the end of a marvelous excursion.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
PS Starting Saturday we will be running our coastal gray whale trips with boats departing Sea Landing at 9am, 12 noon and 3 pm daily. Be sure to make early reservations on our website www.CondorExpress.com, or call the SEA Landing directly at 888-77WHALE during normal business hours