2017 12-28 SB Channel
Yet another calm, warm and sparkling winter day in the Santa Barbara Channel for finding wildlife. Captain Dave and his crew pushed across the Santa Barbara Channel and into the Santa Cruz Channel and quite close to Santa Rosa Island. Sightings for the day included: 15 Dall’s porpoise, 750 long-beaked common dolphins and 3 gray whales. Whales, dolphins and porpoises…what a day!
After a quick peek at the California sea lions on the inner harbor entrance buoy, several hundred dolphins located the Condor Express about 10 minutes later. These dolphins were spread across a mile or so of ocean and were actively feeding on multiple little hot spots with northern anchovies. Upside-down animals were seen slashing across the surface chasing fish all around the zone.
About an hour later the porpoises located us. These high-speed living torpedoes can easily pass right by a boat, but today they were friendly and spent some time riding our bow. Great looks were had.
Approaching the western end of beautiful Santa Cruz Island we encountered a second dolphin area. These were not actively feeding and spent time with the boat riding our wake and doing some socializing.
Next up on the agenda was a nice visit to the world famous Painted Cave, one of the “must see” destinations on the west end of the Island. Dave put the boat into the shade of the first chamber and plenty of selfies were taken by all.
Finally, we reached the Santa Cruz Channel and second Captain Eric spotted 3 southbound migrating gray whales. We followed these cetaceans through many breathing cycles and had some fabulous sightings.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.