INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW:
How can Captain Dave pack so much excitement into a single trip?
Not too far outside Santa Barbara Harbor we slowed to play with a nice herd of long beaked common dolphins. Eager to press on towards the eastern end of Santa Cruz Island, we left the dolphins and got back on our track. Before long we were getting great looks at a mother and calf humpback whale pair. Being close to the eastern end, we then took a brief island coastline tour and enjoyed Santa Cruz Island in its late Spring splendor. Back on the hunt we soon encountered a threesome: 1 adult with another mother-calf humpback whale pair. This time the 3 humpbacks seemed to be excited to see the Condor Express, and they approached the boat very closely. The little calf, although staying pretty close to mom, rolled around, laid upside down, slapped its young-but-long pectoral fins, and put on a real show for the humans. It should be noted that, according to Capt Dave, there were “miles and miles of common dolphins” in the area and surrounding us all morning. His estimate is at least 3,000 more, in addition to the early coastal pod. Back to the mother-calf story…all 3 humpbacks were trumpet blowing a lot and milling around the boat. Time was getting short and Captain Dave was careful to back slowly away from these friendly monsters…then, as frequently happens when you have to leave and start going away from active humpbacks, the little guy laid down an enormous and thunderous breach! So we got on a track aiming for a return to Santa Barbara…but wait! we’re not done yet. It was not long until we ran into ANOTHER 2 humpback adults which were actively lunge feeding on surface krill right next to the Condor Express. If you have never checked out the gaping maw, tongue and palate of a close humpback, well you should have been on board today. In the end, there were at least 7 total closely watched humpback whales with many more spouts all around.
You never know what Mother Nature and Captain Dave “the magic man” will bring!