Humpback whale tail. (From a previous Condor Express adventure)

Humpback whales, blue whales, and dolphins

2017 07-14 SB Channel

Diving sea birds, marauding California sea lions, and dolphins feeding got the attention of Captain Dave and the Condor Express and ultimately resulted in numerous humpback whales too. This first hot spot was several miles south of UCSB.  The day’s total sightings included 10 humpback whales (with many more in the area), 3 giant blue whales, and at least 900 long-beaked common dolphins.  Skies had a high, thin stratus layer.  Seas were calm and a light breeze wafted across the Santa Barbara Channel.

There were plenty of humpback whale tail flukes showing in that first location, and one big humpback took off and breached very close to the Condor Express and served as a little “welcome to the whales” eye-opener.  From here, the boat took a southerly course heading and ended up near the mouth of the Santa Cruz Channel and the recent feeding areas of the blue whales.  Today 3 giant blue whales were seen, one at a time.

From the blue whale grounds we took a quick tour of the beautiful northern sea cliffs of western Santa Cruz Island with Captain Dave providing his rich interpretation of the history, geography, and conservation efforts of this totally preserved jewel.  Dave also put the boat into the outer antechamber of the world-famous Painted Cave.  This cave is believed by many expert speleologists to be the longest of its kind in the world.

On the way home many more humpback whales were located and some were watched.  Others were out of range as we were already a bit late.

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

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