4 Humpbacks and lots of dolphins

Bob Perrycommon dolphins, Condor Express, humpback whales, minke whale, peregrine falcon, Santa Cruz Island, Velella velella

Common dolphins were seen messing around the business end of a large humpback whale.


2015 06-01 SB Channel

Before the trip left the docks, I noticed that every boat at Sea Landing had a serious bird perched on top.   The Condor Express had a juvenile brown pelican sitting on the windscreen of the flying bridge. The Coral Sea had a black-crowned night heron, and the private yacht next to us had a great blue heron on top of its wheelhouse. Crazy. We left Santa Barbara around 10 am and headed for the oil rigs.   About 2 miles north of Hillhouse deckhand Eric spotted some activity. This activity turned out to be a small hot spot with common dolphins (about 1,000) and humpback whales (three).   The spot was not too birdy. After about an hour Captain Dave decided to head for the islands while the conditions were still good. Although the low cloud layer was medium thick and the ocean surface was mostly glassy, there was still a wee bit of chill in the air due to the water temperature being 57F I suspect.

Not too far beyond the rigs on our course to the islands we spotted a lone and very shy Minke #whale.   Around 1 pm we penetrated the world famous Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island and found the cave alive with pigeon guillemots flying back and forth. We capped off our island tour with a run along the northwest sea cliffs and little coves where we spotted a pair of peregrine falcons perched way up on top of a cliff.

On the way home another solo humpback was spotted and it was not an easy whale to watch.   It had long down times and only spouted once when on the surface. It maintained a straight course to the east and must have been in “travel mode” if such a mode exists.

Finally, about 2 miles south of the harbor we went through an area with a whole bunch of purple sailors (Velella velella).

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

I’ll post today’s photographs on the web tomorrow.