2021 04-05 SB CHANNEL
Clear skies, calm winds and a moderate bump on the 9a trip made sightings easy until the middle of the 12n excursion when the wind picked up west of Platform Holly. Sightings included 7 gray whales, 1+ humpback whales, 200+ California sea lions and 1 ocean sunfish (Mola mola).
The first sighting of the day was a very large and friendly ocean sunfish (Mola mola) which we found right off Leadbetter Beach. Everyone had amazing looks at this big fish as it drifted close to the boat and alongside us. Continuing west, a single gray whale was watched all the way up to Goleta Bay. After moving offshore 4 miles from Goleta, the crew had their eyes on some prominent footprints for quite a while until a tiny gray whale calf surfaced. Soon thereafter, you guessed it: its large-and-in-charge mother also came up for air. This was our first cow-calf gray whale of the season at our location. Just outside the harbor, on the way home we watched a pair of large adult grays.
A pair of large adult gray whales was spotted off Hope Ranch to kick off the noon trip. One member of the pair took up a position on each side of the Condor Expressed in a wonderful flanking maneuver. Everyone was happy as the pair led up to Isla Vista, where we angled offshore to a spot west of Platform Holly. Lots of surface action turned out to be 4 or 5 large mobs of California sea lions thrashing about and vocalizing on the surface. Soon a single humpback came into the sea lion area and appeared to feed sub-surface. Additional footprints and spouts were seen in the area, but the wind had picked up significantly and it was time to head back to the harbor with the white caps astern.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Condor Express, and