2015 07-13 SB Channel
A regular reader of this blog might assume that the humpback whales and long-beaked common dolphins were in serious decline after yesterday’s mega-sightings. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Today was far different than Sunday, with a bit more chop and a lot more breeze. It was sunny and nice, and the strong breeze actually helped make the temperatures pleasant on board the Condor Express. The whales are spread out and it is far more difficult to find them amongst all the white caps and swells than it was on the calm day we had yesterday. Here is the rest of today’s story:
Our first sighting of the excursion came about 3 miles out of the Harbor where we entered into an area with several pods of #dolphins kicking up a lot of smoke because they were racing across the waves in a single, lateral line. This marked the nearshore boundary of a large area of dolphins and #whales. We moved around this region for an hour and a half. By the time we left, we’d seen at least a dozen humpback whales and 2,500 long-beaked common dolphins. I assume most of the anchovy schools were not deep today, as tail fluking was relatively rare.
Around noon we headed for the Ledge, a long submerged topographic feature where the Island shelf drops rather quickly into Santa Barbara Basin. It is an area that stretched from mid-Santa Cruz Island westward past San Miguel. Once on the Ledge, Captain Dave put the wind and seas behind us and we headed downhill to the east looking for blues and humpbacks without luck. Again, distance vision was obscured a bit by the white caps and spray.
Heading back towards shore, around 1245 pm, we encountered several pods of dolphins and a at least 3 more humpback whales. These whales had long down times but their surface times were visually quite dramatic with the breeze sending their spout spray far and wide. There was a distant single breach and a random solo tail throw.
Continuing back toward the mainland, we saw 3 more whales and a couple hundred additional dolphins. Two random and solo tail throws by one whale kept everyone at attention.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.