2018 01-03 SB Channel – Captain Eric and his crew had a lucrative excursion today in terms of wild animals. The following were closely watched: gray whales = 5, blue whale = 1, offshore bottlenose dolphins = 20, long-beaked common dolphins = 2000 and 1 blue shark.
On the way across the Santa Barbara Channel en route to the world famous Painted Cave, the Condor Express was located by a huge mega pod of dolphins. Eric let them ride our waves and spent 20 minutes so the dolphin fans on board could enjoy the view. Next stop was the aforementioned Cave, and Eric took advantage of the calm seas to put the Condor inside the first chamber for some fantastic looks at the interior of the longest sea cave in the world.
Outside The Cave a pod of very active offshore bottlenose dolphins located the Condor. They leaped high, rode the bow and generally expressed a huge exuberance…and it was contagious! Soon, however, 5 southbound migrating gray whales crossed our path. They settled in with the boat and got on a very regular dive cycle…again, great looks!
Crossing The Lanes and heading home a huge spout was spotted and it turned out to be a giant blue whale. This is a late-in-the season sighting, but not too unusual. It is always a humbling experience to be right next to the giants, and this one was very friendly.
Closer to the mainland coast a second huge mega pod of common dolphins located us and was the last marine mammal species of the trip.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.