Rain was forecasted but Captain Eric and his crew found sunny, blue skies and calm seas in the Santa Barbara Channel today. Sightings included 1 blue whale, 1 humpback whale, 750 long-beaked common dolphins and at least 300 California sea lions. All this added up to a fantastic expedition.
The first stop of the day was near The Lanes where a blue whale came into view and was soon followed by a humpback whale. The two beasts had relatively short down times and came close to the Condor Express a few times. Great looks were had by all.
Nearly 2 miles west of the whales a large pod of dolphins approached us and rode the bow, side and stern wake. There were numerous little calves in the pod and the clear blue water with nice sunlight amplified the experience for all. East of the dolphins the Condor got into a region with numerous large mobs of sea lions. There were clusters of 20, 50, and even 100 all around a small area. Most were rafting and had their pectoral flippers up to catch some solar energy.
The final stop included a tour of the western end of Santa Cruz Island along with a view of the mouth of the world famous Painted Cave. Captain Eric did a great job providing the whale watchers with pertinent facts and island lore. It was a fantastic expedition.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.