2017 07-13 SB Channel
Captain Dave and his crew wrapped-up a fantastic package of cetaceans today and ended up with great sightings of 6 different marine mammal species. The list for today included: 6 humpback whales, 20 California sea lions, 3 Minke whales, 600 long-beaked common dolphins, 30 Risso’s dolphins and 2 blue whales. The fog was on the deck and created challenging whale-finding conditions at first, but soon lifted to a low, thin marine layer. Sea conditions were mill pond flat and glassy.
Dave took the Condor Express up the coast and soon located a very nice Minke whale which provided unusually good looks to all on board. A few miles later we were south of UCSB and located a wide area of dolphin and humpback whale activity. The scenario was the same as it has been: small hunting parties of common dolphins locate northern anchovy schools beneath the surface; dolphins get the fish into a tight ball and, finally, along comes one or more humpback whales to gulp down the entire ball. Two additional Minke whales were also found feeding in this zone.
Changing to a southerly course, and crossing the Santa Barbara Channel, 2 separate blue whales were located, one large and one small. How does the Condor Express crew do it? The two blue whales were located in moderate to heavy fog. Amazing! Several dozen Risso’s dolphins were also found in the blue whale feeding area.
On the way back to Santa Barbara Harbor, about 3 or 4 miles off the beach, a mother humpback whale with her calf, plus a third humpback were located and watched by all. What a day!
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.