The little "raindrops" on the water are actually northern anchovies popping their heads (and sometimes their whole bodies) out of the water. Here we see a western gull feeding on a small surface bait ball.

East of Point Conception: 6 nice humpbacks and loads of dolphins.

2019 08-24 SB Channel Very Far West Captain Dave and the crew of the Condor Express located 6 humpback whales and 1500 long-beaked common dolphins on a run west past Gaviota Pass and Platform Heritage. This is an amazing 32-mile (each way) adventure that offered unlimited, spectacular views of the entire pristine Gaviota coastline. It’s unusual to find the wildlife …

This is the track we ran today to the far western Santa Barbara Channel. (MarineTraffic.com)

Stunning views of the western Gaviota coast with lots of whales and dolphins too.

2019 08-23 SB Channel Far West The high stratus layer burned off and things got really nice around noon.  Seas were relatively calm and just fine for locating and watching wildlife.  Today we closely watched 8 humpback whales, 2 Minke whales and 1500 long-beaked common dolphins. Our travels today (as shown in the attached AIS chart from MarineTraffic.com) took us …

A surface-active, upside-down humpback whale with its long pectoral fins in the air. More humpback appreciation!

9 Humpbacks (some very active) and 2000 dolphins.

2019 08-22 SB Channel West         Having seen spouts earlier in the week, Captain Dave and the crew of the Condor Express headed to the far west Channel and found copious wildlife in the Gaviota area. Closely watched species included 9 humpback whales and 2000 long-beaked common dolphins. Once again the whales and dolphins were mixed together and feeding on northern …

There are few natural wonders that can compare with a megapod of long-beaked common dolphins all around the boat. It is hard for the eye to focus on a single animal.

4 Feeding humpbacks and 3000 Dolphins

2019 08-20 SB Channel The morning overcast marine layer quickly gave way to sunny skies in the Santa Barbara Channel. The skilled crew of the Condor Express, under the leadership of Captain Dave, negotiated a calm northern Channel and windy south to provide exceptional mammal sightings, including:  4+ humpback whales and 3,000 long-beaked common dolphins. This “negotiation” consisted of pushing …

Long-beaked common dolphins leap over the waves in the Santa Barbara Channel.

Fantastic weather and seas; lots of great sightings.

2019 08-19 SB Channel Captain Colton and the crew of the Condor Express transected the entire Santa Barbara Channel, from the harbor to just north of Santa Rosa Island. Seas were ideal and the sun was shining all day. Sightings included: 2000 long-beaked common dolphins, 150 offshore bottlenose dolphins, and 1 humpback whale. I know you’ve read this somewhere before:  …

The under side (ventral surface) of a humpback whale's tail flukes. The unique edge sculptures an, more importantly, the color patterns, help identify individual whales.

Summer conditions and great wildlife sightings

2019 08-18 SB Channel Great conditions with calm seas and sunny skies set the stage for a unique an interesting day of wildlife sightings.  Totals for the day include:  3+ humpback whales (live), 2000 common dolphins (both short- and long-beaked were seen today), 1 deceased humpback calf, and 1 white shark. Not far south of Santa Barbara Harbor we re-located …

A giant kelp stipe full of fronds is shown across the back of a humpback whale two days ago in the Santa Barbara Channel. Cetaceans in our area seem to love giant kelp!

Kelping humpbacks and hundreds of dolphins.

2019 08-17 SB Channel A morning stratus layer was quickly replaced by blue and sunny skies as we approached the hot spot.  Seas were calm all day. We had great looks at 3 humpback whales and at least 1500 long-beaked common dolphins. Hundreds of dolphins were around all day and everywhere we went.  Of course they came to the Condor …

Two large adult humpback whales swam together for a while today. One was slightly smaller and more active...it liked to roll around and swim on its side or upside-down.

Gloriously glassy smooth surface with thousands of dolphins and humpbacks too.

2019 08-15 SB Channel Skies were covered by a marine stratus layer until we found some sun out near the world-famous Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island. Seas were calm and, in spots, very glassy.  Sightings for the trip included 3 live humpback whales, 3000 long-beaked common dolphins and, 1 deceased humpback whale calf. We followed a pair of adult …