2018 11-07 SB Channel West
It was a nice sunny day in the Santa Barbara Channel, the surface was glassy but with a little bit of bump from winds far to the west. Sightings included 7 humpback whales, 1500 long-beaked common dolphins, 100 California sea lions and 1 research Saildrone.
An interesting surprise visit took place just before the boat departed today in Santa Barbara Harbor. A large female northern elephant seal came up out of the ocean at the boat launch ramp and relaxed in the sunny harbor parking lot. This, of course, caused a minor stir as vehicles had to take an alternate route as did morning harbor walkers. Soon, however, a marine mammal rescue worker was on the scene and gently escorted the beast back into the ocean.
Out in the ocean our first mammal sightings took place when 500 or so dolphins located the Condor Express. As they rode our bow, side and stern waves it became apparent that much of this group was a nursery pod…almost every adult (mother) dolphin had a tiny calf swimming alongside
Not long after the first wave of dolphins came by, our first whale sighting took place. This whale and a second one that soon arrived were small, juvenile whales. Both were feeding subsurface and did not spend much time on the surface. A second wave of dolphins came by too, as did a third solo juvenile whale.
In the distance tall spouts were spotted. Captain Dave slowly motored over and we had wonderful looks at 4 additional whales. These were large, adult whales and moved around (chasing dolphin pods) as a tight pack. You can see two of these four whales in the photograph above.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Condor Express, and