2021 10-15 SB Channel
Captain Dave reported flat seas with a long-period ground swell at the islands. Skies were clear and sunny but smoke from the Alisal Fire could be seen looking west. Sightings were tremendous: 10 humpback whales, 20 offshore bottlenose dolphins, 3000 long-beaked common dolphins and 200+ California sea lions.
It did not take long for the action to ramp up. We were only 6 miles off Leadbetter Point when a mega pod of common dolphins caught our attention. As we hoped, this dolphin feeding action attracted whales and a total of 8 were found in this location. We watched two trios and two separate solo whales, spending most of our time with the trios. These were mostly adult whales and none were immediately recognizable (tail flukes are en route to Happywhale.com for analysis). There were also plenty of sea birds and sea lions in this 2-mile long hot spot.
A sunny trip to Santa Cruz Island featured a wonderful tour of the steep sea cliffs, grottos and caves. We looked at the world-famous Painted Cave but the aforementioned island ground swell prohibited penetration). As we crossed The Lanes on our way home from The Cave we encountered a pod of offshore bottlenose dolphins. The pod made one or two passes and then moved on with their journey.
Further north, again on our homeward path, we stopped to watch a mother humpback with her calf amidst common dolphins. The pair was moving slowly and stopping frequently to log.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Condor Express, and