Calm seas reveal much wildlife

Bob Perryblue whale watching, blue whales, common dolphins, Condor Express, humpback whales, Mola mola (ocean sunfish), Risso's Dolphins, Velella velella

2016 06-03 SB Channel

Captain Dave ran across to the feeding grounds and says there were more blue whales (as many as 15) than humpback whales (as many as 6).  Krill was on the surface, and there was surface lunge feeding by the beasts.  The stratus was on the deck near Santa Barbara Harbor, but opened up quite a bit out on the grounds which made sightings a lot easier.  Mirror glass calm seas added to the experience and helped reveal the wildlife.

About 2 miles off the beach a group of 300 or so long-beaked common dolphins came over and played with the Condor Express.  Continuing south, we came into a large patch of purple sailor jellies (Velella velella) and found an ocean sunfish (Mola mola) slurping them down like Marshawn Lynch eating Skittles.  The main whale activity had moved a little to the west overnight, and we closely watched 5 blue whales (more in the area, as previously noted) and 3 humpback whales (more in area).

In addition to being prey for seabirds and whales, the krill patches this week were being attacked by market squid (Doryteuthis opalescens) which cause the crustaceans to jump out of the water trying to escape.  Revenge came at the hands (er, mouths) of about 25 squid-eating Risso’s dolphins that were also seen along the feeding grounds.

Hope to see you while these extremely calm seas persist.

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