2021 05-30 SB Channel
Skies were bright blue and sunny. Seas started off glassy but there was a slight breeze near Santa Cruz Island. A gently rolling 3 foot swell was more noticeable along the face of the island. Closely watched marine mammals today included 3+ humpback whales, 1 fin whale, 200 long-beaked common dolphins and 30 California sea lions.
Our first two humpback whales were located just 4 miles south of the entrance to Santa Barbara Harbor. We watched 1 large adult and 1 medium adult, both with white tails. They were feeding subsurface on a northern anchovy bait ball.
Moving just 3 miles east of the whales we were surrounded by a pod of at least 1000 common dolphins. Per usual, these agile little cetaceans rode our bow, side and stern waves.
Soon thereafter, and further south en route to the island, we had great looks at a large fin whale. Its prominent chin stripe was glowing beneath the ocean surface. It was a cooperative whale with long, 8 – 10 breath, surface intervals.
Captain Colton and his crew took our whale lovers on a short but informative tour of the beautiful sea cliffs and caves along the northern face of Santa Cruz Island until more spouts were seen to the west. On the scene we observed another humpback whale (with more spouts further west).
On the way home a second large 1000-strong pod of common dolphins came over to the boat for some inter-species fun.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Condor Express, and