2020 10-04 SB Channel
A thin stratus layer kept the sun muted except out in the land of the giants. Seas were mill pond glass and not a breath of wind all day. Sightings were good: 500 short-beaked common dolphins, 3000 long-beaked common dolphins, 5 inshore bottlenose dolphins, 2 Minke whales, 1 giant blue whale and 1 humpback whale. Bird note: a single south polar skua was reported.
The Condor Express was in the mouth of Santa Barbara Harbor as we departed when a small group of coastal bottlenose dolphins entered. We did not follow them into the harbor due to minimal room to maneuver. Long-beaked common dolphins were tremendously abundant today, and our first pods appeared about 5 miles out. There was a lot of feeding accompanied by gluttonous bird behavior. Later in the trip a large pod of short-beaked common dolphins put on a show. Groups of dolphins continued to find us all the way home.
Two Minke whales were watched. The first was very friendly and the water was crystal clear. It was a strong encounter that lasted 15 minutes or so. A second Minke was not quite as affable, and was watched briefly on the way home.
In the land of the giants our first encounter was with a very large adult humpback whale. After some nice looks and a 7 min down time, it erupted into a full-body breach just ahead of the bow…catching everyone (and most cameras) by surprise. A bit south of the humpback we watched another large adult whale. This was a giant blue and we had wonderful looks. As a side note, when we reversed course and headed home we encountered the big humpback individual a second time and saw some nice tail flukes.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Condor Express, and