2017 04-15 SB Coast
Tracks laid down by the Condor Express today showed that two trips stayed in the nearshore environment, and a third one moved out 5 miles for a search of deeper water. Total sightings for today included 14 gray whales, 15 bottlenose dolphins and 700 long-beaked common dolphins. Lots of gray whale mothers and calves were seen today.
Captain Dave headed west and found a 200-strong herd of common dolphins actively feeding on northern anchovies. In fact, all of the common dolphins sighted today were feeding on anchovies and did so near the boat in relatively clear water. Dave next ran west to Platform Holly and a bit south, then headed back to the immediate coast. Here 3 mother-calf gray whales pairs were found spread across the shoreline from Goleta to Leadbetter.
Wise ol’ Captain Dave took a fresh batch of whale and dolphin lovers back up the beach and located the same 3 cow-calf gray whale pairs that we studied on the first excursion. Out of nowhere, a group of 15 bottlenose dolphins came to the boat and stayed for some wonderful mutual admiration with their human pals. Towards the end of the ride, another 300 common dolphins were watched as they, too, were engaged in feeding.
During the final trip of the day things started fast with yet another mother-calf gray whale pair. It is wonderful to see the behavior of mom and the baby. Continuing west and leaving the pair of grays behind, 200 additional feeding common dolphins were observed. Great to see all the gray whale mothers and calves today.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.