One of today's humpback whales had a lot of scratches. Some vaguely resemble Orca rake marks, and some may be male-to-male social interaction with barnacle-festooned pectoral flippers.

All 4 northern Channel Islands were seen, plus whales and dolphins too.

2018 11-10 SB Channel

The views afforded as we traversed the Santa Barbara Channel included seeing all 4 northern Channel Islands, a major smoke plume above Bony Ridge from the Malibu fire, and otherwise very calm seas with lots of mirror glass in the morning.  Spouts from the 4 humpback whales we closely watched hung in the air like mist.  In addition, 1500 long-beaked common dolphins were encountered.  It was a very mellow fall day.

We were not even an hour outbound from Santa Barbara Harbor when two groups of dolphins located the Condor Express.  The first group was slightly larger than the second group.  There were scattered dolphins all across the Channel, making today’s estimated number an educated guess.  About 20 minutes after our first dolphins we were near the mid-Channel NOAA buoy and had our first of two “migratory” whales.  Meaning they were on a path that included some down time and some surface time, but the path remained fairly straight (to the east) and predictable.  The second of the two whales was found in the southbound lanes.

After our two-humpback and dolphin observations, Captain Dave took us on a short tour along the majestic sea cliffs of Santa Cruz Island.  He presented his usual, but always interesting, interpretation of the geological origins, the topography, the historical ownership, native American presence and their culture, as well as the current ecological concerns.  At the end of his discourse our second captain of the day, Tasha, took the Condor Express into the world’s longest sea cave, the famous Painted Cave. Tasha also retrieved a large Mylar “Happy Birthday” balloon from the environment today.

On the way home a pair of humpback whales were spotted and we were leisurely following their path (to the southeast) when the largest of the two, a full grown whale, got fully airborne and landed with a monster thud, creating a huge splash.  This solo breach took us all by surprise and sent chills down our spines as it took place relatively close to the boat.

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