2017 03-16 SB Coast
The early morning low stratus burned-off and the entire excursion today, which departed at 12 noon, had sunny skies and calm seas. By the way, we are experiencing spring whale watching at its best right now. Totals for this trip included: 800+ long-beaked common dolphins, 7 gray whales and 2 humpback whales.
Soon after clearing Santa Barbara harbor, and just off Leadbetter Beach, several hot spots full of dolphins with thousands of crashing and lunging sea birds were located. Captain Dave and his crew were greeted by the dolphins and the clear water permitted a lot of the subsurface action to be seen by everyone on board.
About a mile away the first gray whales, a trio of large animals, were found to be engaged in socializing and perhaps courtship behavior. A lot of rolling around, accompanied by fins in the air, presented lots of photo-opps for everyone. Soon two more gray whales, also rolling around, joined to make a pentapod of activity.
Moving offshore just a little bit, another gray whale was located because it breached seven or eight times in a row. Also in the same zone there was a humpback whale with a cadre of dolphins, and then, a bit offshore, a second humpback whale with even more dolphins.
On the way back to the harbor, you guessed it, two more gray whales were found and they were also rolling, spy-hopping, putting fins up, and swimming upside down. There must be some “spring fever” in the water right now to generate such enthusiasm by these whales !
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.