False killer whale mother and calf. Photo ©Adam Ernster, 2019

A monster day of cetacean action!

2019 04-13 SB Channel

Clear blue skies, calm seas and over-the-top sightings were encountered today as 3 trips left the SEA Landing docks at 9a, 12n and 3p.  Totals for the day included: 6 humpback whales, 1 Minke whale, 30 false killer whales, 700 long-beaked common dolphins and 1 blue shark.  But wait!  There’s more!

The morning trip was busy watching a huge adult humpback whale about 10 miles out from UCSB.  The beast was alternating between doing “head stands” (head down, tail up and holding a vertical posture), and logging.  Meanwhile, numerous spouts in the distance caught the eye of the Condor Express crew and turned out to be a pod of 20 – 30 false killer whales.  These are relatively uncommon visitors to our area, seen perhaps once every year or two. Not only were there calves in this pod, but many of the adults were very interested in the boat and made a series of close approaches.  The group was moving southeast.

At noon we again ran outside.  Our first cetacean sighting was a single Minke whale, and soon after that we watched a small (but friendly) blue shark near the surface.  Past the oil rigs a large and very acrobatic herd of dolphins put on quite a show.

On the afternoon adventure, we looked around for action offshore and ended up 14 miles from the harbor and east of Platform Habitat.  Here we located a hot spot with loads of seabird activity and at least 5 humpback whales.  These whales repeatedly lunge-fed on the surface and one of them breached and chin-slapped as well.  Several hundred dolphins were also involved in this hot spot.

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