2021 04-23 SB Channel
Great killer whale (Orcinus orca) sighting plus humpbacks galore.
Captain Dave and his crew navigated the Santa Barbara Channel waters for two excursions today, 9a and 12n. Conditions were good and sightings were spectacular. The following species were closely watched: 5 killer whales, 15+ humpback whales, 400 California sea lions and 2 ocean sunfish (Mola mola).
We watched 5 humpback whales, a pair then a trio, about 6 miles offshore from UCSB. Naturally, hundreds of furry California sea lions and hungry (but not furry) seabirds were all over the zone. The initial pair made a bee-line for the Condor Express and spent quite a bit of time posing for selfies, etc. It was a true “mugging.”
At noon we returned to the same general humpback spot off UCSB and right away found and watched a group of 3 (with more in the area). There was a lot of bait and many massive surface bait balls today. Soon additional humpbacks joined in to feed on the anchovy masses, and, again sea lions and birds were everywhere.
On the way home we were notified by our friends in the fleet (Island Spirit,Stardust, Coral Sea, and others) of a small group of killer whales near Platform Hillhouse off Carpinteria. On the scene we found and watched two mother killer whales with calves plus a single large adult male. The male had a distinctive notch in its tall dorsal. The group made several friendly approaches including passing under the Condor hulls. One of the calves spy hopped too. These whales were identified as part of the CA122 group. A very special encounter and close to Santa Barbara.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Condor Express, and