2018 02-23 SB Coast – Two Condor Express excursions left the SEA Landing docks today, one at 9am and the other 12 noon. Totals for the day include: 3 gray whales and 800 long-beaked common dolphins. It was exceptionally clear and sunny on both trips. The wind was blowing pretty hard in the morning then switched direction (from NW to SW) before it died down a lot. Either way, it was an exceptional day for finding and watching cetaceans along the Santa Barbara coast.
On the morning trip, second Captain and deckhand, Colton, located a widely spread out pod of common dolphins at the outer edge of the East Beach anchorage. Like the dolphins we’d see later in the day, they were actively feeding and were accompanied by lots of gulls, terns and pelicans. California sea lions were also in the afternoon dolphin pod, and the morning featured numerous calves with their mothers.
The second sighting of the morning came when our friend, Sophie, located what turned out to be a pair of northbound, juvenile gray whales. The pair was traveling together and occasionally synchronized their breathing cycles.
Dave ran east on the afternoon trip and located a single juvenile gray whale on the Carpenteria border. The whale had long down times. It, too, was northbound. We found it about two miles off the beach, and it moved closer and closer to shore on every breathing cycle. This might fool a new whale watch captain, but not Captain Dave.
The afternoon trip ended with the aforementioned common dolphins. These were sighted about a mile south of the entrance to Santa Barbara Harbor and just outside the massive cruise ship that was anchored near the outer buoy.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.