A splendid 5 cetacean species day!

Bob Perrywhale watching california

Fin whale

2020 01-12 SB Channel 

Great sea conditions provided a backdrop to a wonderful “five species day” in the Santa Barbara Channel. Observations included 4000+ common dolphins, 25 offshore bottlenose dolphins, 12 Risso’s dolphins, one fin whale and two gray whales.

Common dolphins were abundant from just a few miles off the beach all the way out to The Lanes, 10 miles away. The first sighting took place when we spotted several hundred brown pelicans sitting on the water and lunging /lurching at a huge bait ball that was also being attacked by common dolphins. Very unusual stuff…behavior more typical of the white pelican species.

After a nice visit to beautiful Santa Cruz Island and the world-famous painted cave we encountered a small pod of the offshore bottlenose variety mixed in with 10 rhesus dolphins. Nice to see the two different species working together near the island.

On the way home, and just south of The Lanes, our videographer Adam spotted a large fin whale. It had long surface times and was splendid to look at. Moving on closer to the beach we encountered two southbound gray whales on their annual migration, which rounded out our 5 cetacean day!

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry
Condor Express, and