2018 11-11 SB Channel
For the most part it was sunny and warm in the Santa Barbara Channel today albeit moderately smoky. We had great luck with wildlife and closely watched six humpback whales and 2000 long-beaked common dolphins.
Not far outside the harbor, the first group of about 500 dolphins located us. The surface was mirror-glass, the water was blue and clear. Consequently, the sightings were phenomenal. There were many large groups swimming alongside us, and loads of calves too. We kept moving offshore and about an hour later had a larger group of dolphins locate us with similar results.
We were about 8 miles south of UCSB when the first whale came into view. It was in “travel mode,” and did not do any spectacular tricks other than to show us its flukes regularly. About 40 minutes later we crossed paths with 3 additional whales. One kept moving to the east, and Captain Tasha decided to closely watch the remaining pair. This was a great command decision as the pair became very friendly with the Condor Express and swam within 15 feet of our hull as well as passing underneath in water so clear everyone saw them down there. There were several such friendly approaches and then the smaller of the two whales (both seemed to be less than full grown) breached once unexpectedly. It was a huge wow moment.
Perhaps an hour passed until yet another pair of whales was watched closely. This pair was more like the first one we saw…all business and no alternative behaviors. After this last whale went on its way, a large pod of dolphins that had been slowly following us on both sides of the boat took off on a stampede run, overtook the boat and headed west several hundred yards before calming down.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Condor Express, and