Minke whale from a late July excursion

Two species of whales, two species of dolphins

2017 08-12 SB Channel

There was hardly a breath of wind.  Skies had a thin stratus layer that came down to the deck once or twice as we headed 25 miles to the western Santa Barbara Channel.  Conditions were good except for some residual surface bump coming from stormy conditions last night far to the north and west.  Sightings for the trip were outstanding, with two species of whales, two species of dolphins:  8* humpback whales, 2 Minke whales, 1 Mola mola, 25 Risso’s dolphins and 1,000 long-beaked common dolphins.

Although the Condor Express got discovered by a nice pod of Risso’s dolphins and, of course, larger pods of common dolphins just west of Platform Holly, the real hot spot was much further west.  Captain Dave took the boat west of Platform Heritage today, the coastal equivalent of which would be far western Gaviota.  Here the larger herds of common dolphins were at work, and the humpback whales were following the feeding dolphins.  There was a lot of surface action and a pair of Minke whales patrolled the outer edges of the zone.

Eight humpback whales were closely watched with *many more spouts all around this very rich and productive area.  Sea birds and California sea lions were also abundant and feeding.  A long Mola mola was observed resting on the surface, seemingly oblivious to the anchovy-based food chain all around.

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

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