2019 12-28 SB Channel
The Santa Barbara Channel was indescribably beautiful. There was bright sunshine all day and one could see all 4 islands clearly. Sightings were also spectacular: 200 California sea lions, 4000 long-beaked common dolphins and 1 humpback whale.
It was a moderately bumpy ride for the first few miles, then the ocean calmed down nicely. We encountered 4 large pods of dolphins. The first was just under 1000 strong and was on the move. Thirty minutes later a slightly larger herd was busy feeding amongst the seabirds, later, on the way back home, a “small group” of 500 individuals led is in the direction of the biggest pod that consisted of at least 1500 animals, and was very active.
In the middle of the trip Captain Dave took us along the northern sea cliffs of beautiful Santa Cruz Island, then inside the first chamber of the world’s longest sea cave, the Painted Cave. There was a tiny entrance waterfall, a remnant of recent rains, and always special to see. Along the island coastline and near the Cave, we saw several mobs of seal lions rafting together on the surface.
The humpback whale we spent time with was swimming and diving among the dolphins in the last, and largest, megapod. There was just enough breeze to send its spout spray around wildly in the air. It also fluked-up several times for us.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Condor Express, and