2015 05-27 SB Channel
It was a tale of north Channel versus South today. Captain Dave and the crew departed Santa Barbara and headed southeast towards the rig line. About ½-mile west of Hogan there was an active hot spot with long-beaked common dolphins, pelicans crashing, sooty shearwaters and a few gulls. In and around this area we watched 11 humpback whales. There were more #whale spouts in the vicinity too. What really caught our eye, here in the northern Santa Barbara Channel, was a breaching sequence with two large humpback participants. This breaching was spotted at a distance and Dave slowly moved the Condor Express a bit closer as the whales continued to breach perhaps a dozen times. There were approximately 1,000 #dolphins scattered around the area. The hot spot quickly subsided. The sea birds took off and went searching except for the sooty shearwaters that sat around in big clusters digesting their anchovies.
As we headed for Santa Cruz Island we encountered another humpback whale that was moving quickly to the northeast. We wanted to go southwest. Near the island the otherwise tranquil, cloudy and windless ocean got transformed into a sunny, windy and wild place. Dave took us on a tour of the northwest coast of Santa Cruz from Fry’s east to Pelican before turning offshore. As we neared the shipping lanes first one tall spout and then another we spotted by the crew. We were able to get great looks at one large blue whale that was magnificent as its spout spray caught the winds and smoke flew everywhere. The beast had 12 minute down times, but spouted at least 8 times on the surface and then, fluked-up for all to see. Applause rang across the Condor. This was our first summer blue whale although reports of blues in the zone have been posted online for the past couple of weeks.
A special note. On board today we had 20 or so students from the Win transition program and Santa Barbara City College that had a great time and it was made even greater by the fact that they earned their ticket price by selling mistletoe during the holiday season. Three cheers for mistletoe and the Win students (and their support staff) !
Two schedule notes: our regular summer trip schedule is being changed on Friday and Sunday (May 29 and 31). This special two-day only departure and return change is due to a private charter in the afternoon. We leave promptly at 800am and return approximately 1230pm Friday and Sunday only.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
I’ll get the photos online by the weekend.