An elephant seal, loads of whales, thousands of dolphins

Bob Perrycommon dolphins, ELEPHANT SEAL, humpback whales, Painted Cave Santa Cruz Island

An elephant seal on the open ocean.

2018 10-14 SB Channel

Our adventure ran across the Santa Barbara Channel, stopping for wildlife, and ended up with a tour of the Santa Cruz Island sea cliffs.  It was drop-dead gorgeous with bright sun and calm seas.  Our sightings for the day included 9 humpback whales (more in the area), 1500 long-beaked common dolphins, 400 short-beaked common dolphins and 1 elephant seal.  It’s been a while since we’ve encountered and elephant seal.

Long-beaked common dolphin pods were scattered across the entire Channel and were particularly abundant (no surprise) around the whales. Near the NOAA buoy our first whale (and its dolphins) came into view and got us started on the big beasts.  Continuing south and near The Lanes, the head of large female elephant seal was spotted.  You have to look fast when Captain Dave points out the wildlife because some of these elephant seals sink out of view pretty fast.

Closer to the Island there were loads of humpbacks all over the place.  We closely watched an additional 8 whales here, all of them solo.  More whales, including some that breached, were seen a mile or more in the distance.  The region was lousy with whales today.  Let’s hope they hang around!

Dave’s special interpretation of the history, geology, paleontology, ecology and current affairs is not to be missed, and today included a trip inside the first chamber of the world famous Painted Cave.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Bob Perry
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