Stunning sightings of gray whales at Santa Cruz Island
We zipped across a rather choppy Santa Barbara Channel with a few white caps today, on our way towards the very fertile whale grounds of Santa Cruz Island. We played briefly with 4 Dall’s porpoises around the middle of the Channel. The great news is that once we were within a half mile of the island, the island peaks and cliffs sheltered us from the southwest winds and it was glassy smooth and warm. And that is where we found our first four gray whales.
The gray whales were migrating east, as most of them (except “Wrong Way Corrigan’s”) do. These whales were very regular with 3 or 4 minute down times, and all of them fluked-up practically on every dive. It was a spectacular sight with the sea cliffs of Santa Cruz nearby.
After a good session with these first 4 gray whales we ran inside the famous Painted Cave and everyone was thrilled…as always. We tried to then push west to find a few Risso’s dolphins, but again the windy choppy seas quickly stopped us.
On the way home we ran into a large herd of at least 1,000 common dolphins and two more gray whales heading east out past the oil rigs.
I’ll post the photos from today’s trip online on Monday.
Sunday is a closed private trip, but we’ll be open again starting on Monday all week, and the weather is supposed to be great.
Hope to see you soon.
Happy New Year.