8 great whales and 1 goes “kelp crazy!”

Bob Perrywhale watching californiaLeave a Comment

A spy hopping, kelping humpback whale in the Santa Barbara Channel.

2021 09-07 SB Channel

With glassy flat seas all day, Captain Dave and the crew traversed the entire Santa Barbara Channel from the Harbor to the west end of beautiful Santa Cruz Island. Along the way, the following were closely watched: 8 humpback whales and 3000 long-beaked common dolphins.

Two adults and one juvenile humpback whale were located hear the NOAA East Channel Buoy amidst hundreds of common dolphins. We had great looks at each of these individuals as they were separated by a quarter mile or so. The dolphins were around us all day, which is what we have experienced for most of the summer.

Moving to the island, Dave gave a short tour of the sea cliffs, coves, grottos and, of course, took the Condor Express into the outer chamber of the world-famous Painted Cave. Our ideal sea conditions made this a spectacular moment in a trip full of whales and dolphins.

As we exited the Cave and put the island astern, a pair of whales were watched while we were still south of The Lanes. It was Chompers, a large friendly female and her calf of the year. They had very short dive times and short surface times, so we had a lot to see!

Starting the trip home, and now located north of The Lanes, we slowly passed two more individual whales mixed in, as they all were, with lots of dolphins.

Finally, just 8 miles out from home, we hit the jackpot and located an adult humpback whale that was completely oblivious to our presence. It was preoccupied with kelping and it went on for quite a long time. It rolled around in the seaweed, flipped over and waved both of its long pectoral fins in the air covered by kelp stipes, and generally demolished what started out as a drifting giant kelp paddy. As we slowly pulled away, the whale gave a giant spy hop with shards of algae clinging to its body. Wow!

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


After having such wonderful sights further offshore (we were several miles south of San Miguel Island at one point) on our special 8-hour whale watch last month, Captain Dave is going to do it again! We’ll have plenty to time to explore every nook and cranny known to cetaceans and look for pelagic birds along the way.

Make your reservations now: Saturday, September 25 – 8am to 4pm


phone:  888-77WHALE or 805-882-0088

My report from the August trip is here:

I look forward to seeing you on board!


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