Gray whale tail flukes. (From my Condor Express archives)

Solid mammal sightings on a bumpy, rainy day.

2016 12-23 SB Channel and Beyond

Captain Eric ran across a bumpy, rainy Santa Barbara Channel and up into the Santa Cruz Channel on the Carrington (west) side. There were solid mammal sightings for the day including 2 gray whales, 8 inshore bottlenose dolphins, and 10 Dall’s porpoise.

Right outside the harbor entrance the 8 dolphins were located in close to shore near the Yacht Club. It is always great to see these coastal animals and 8 is a nice sized pod.

Moving south across the Santa Barbara Channel, the pair of whales were heading south and east through the Santa Cruz Channel which is a primary migratory path for whales going to Baja California this time of year. The whales were very cooperative and came up close to the Condor Express so great looks could be had by all.

The western end of Santa Cruz Island was completely awash with breakers from the storm surf and choppy seas. The southeast winds blew spindrift off the tops of the huge smoking waves and provided dramatic evidence as to why we would be unable to get inside the world-famous Painted Cave today.  On the way home the tiny Dall’s porpoise found us and ended our sightings on a high note.

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