2015 05-06 SB Coast
Captain Dave ran one trip on the Condor Express today, departing scenic Santa Barbara at 12 noon to search for wildlife in the abundant waters of the Santa Barbara Channel. Dave’s “eyes and ears” man, deckhand Augie, quickly spotted a small yet active pod of about 100 long-beaked common dolphins about a half mile east of the harbor and about the same distance offshore from the East Beach anchorage. These #dolphins were spread out and actively engaged in chasing bait fish. Due to the green water in this particular area I could not identify the fish species. Nevertheless we had wonderful time with these small and friendly cetaceans as they moved over to ride the bow quickly before getting back on the hunt.
From here Dave took a direct westerly course to run the outer edge of the near shore kelp forests which we did for quite a few miles. This is a peak time for gray whale cow-calf pairs, but we found ourselves in a “gap” between the migrating beasts until we reached Goleta Bay. Between the pier and UCSB we picked up our first gray whale mother and calf and followed the pair up and around Goleta Point, site of an old shore-based whaling station, but now called “Campus Point” in honor of the thousands of brilliant young minds hard at work on the bluff tops. By this time the afternoon westerly winds had kicked up quite a bit and this slowed our heading-into-the-wind strategy. Dave turned around and put the weather behind us and continued the search to the east.
Down to the east, out front of the Yacht Club, we located a second gray #whale mother and calf heading upstream into the weather and chop. We only had a few minutes with this pair due to time constraints (we stayed out a little late), but when we finally turned around to enter the harbor, there were at least 4 more whales behind us and between us and the harbor entrance. What a great time of year this is!
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.