Angelo Sena's photograph shows the crew working on disentangling a common dolphin.

A humpback mugging, a dolphin rescue…and more!

2019 09-11 SB Channel

There was a little breeze at Santa Cruz Island but otherwise, it was calm with nice sea conditions all day.  Sightings for the day included 4 humpback whales and 2000 long-beaked common dolphins.  But, as often happens, these numbers do not begin to tell the whole story.

Adam Ernster’s photo of the entangled dolphin.

The excitement began when we were a mere 10 miles offshore amidst groups of dolphins that would be around all day.  Not only did we have a wonderful time dolphin watching, but a single, juvenile whale also showed up on the scene. We spent an hour enjoying this friendly whale that came to the boat and did not leave for the entire sighting.  It was extremely social and boat-friendly. We got mugged. Barrel-rolling, spy-hopping, swims under and around all sides of the Condor Express took place.  Everyone on board was thrilled and got great selfies (or whale-fies). It was a magical time.

After the whale finally left us, we headed towards Santa Cruz Island and soon found a mega pod of dolphins that stretched along a one-mile line.  Again, while dolphin watching, we found whales.  This time a trio of larger animals came on the scene.  They did not mug us and were focused on sub-surface feeding. Great tail flukes were seen.

We moved on and paid a visit to the northern sea cliffs of beautiful Santa Cruz Island, and went inside the outer chamber of the Painted Cave.

On the way home one of our CINC naturalists, John K., pointed out what appeared to be a dolphin in a clump of drift kelp. Upon inspection, it was indeed a dolphin.  It was entangled in small diameter polypro lines, including a loop through the mouth.  It was dragging a mass of line behind it.  Our able crew (Austin and Devin) were able to cut the animal free and release it unharmed with direction and boat handling skills by Captain Dave. You can see this for yourself in the photograph above by Angelo Sena. Adam Ernster also photographed the scene and will post his pix online.

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

Comments 4

  1. I thank you for this report, I miss my days on the central coast where I spent many a day on the viewing bluff as a docent for the elephant seals. Humps, orca, dolphins, sea lions and of coarse the e-seals.
    I do miss that part of the world but have since moved down to the east side of the Baja sur to a little town Mulege. Just south of here there should be sightings of the migrations and even into the Sea of Cortez. This is my first season here and am excited to again see the magnificence of these creatures. Thanks again, Dan Tower

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