2017 09-15 SB Channel
It was another sunny day with excellent weather and sea conditions for locating and watching wildlife. Captain Dave and his crew closely watched: 9* humpback whales, 1 ocean sunfish (Mola mola) and at least 2,000 long-beaked common dolphins. The trip ran completely across the Santa Barbara Channel to Santa Cruz Island and back again in search of whales.
The action today was within a wide swath of ocean which started about 5 miles south of Santa Barbara Harbor and ended at The Lanes. There were scattered large pods of dolphins that located the Condor Express all through the zone. A Mola mola also drifted past the boat. Dolphins were actively feeding on schools of northern anchovies, and so were humpback whales.
The water was unusually clear and the numerous schools of anchovies were seen clearly from the boat as dolphins and a few California sea lions attacked. The whales seemed to by-pass most of the shallow schools that were visible from the boat. There was a lot of nice tail-fluking, which may indicated feeding was even more lucrative deeper.
Dave also took the boat on one of his now famous tours along the sea cliffs of Santa Cruz Island and included, due to excellent sea conditions, a nice visit inside the mouth of the world-famous Painted Cave.
On the way home even more whales and dolphins were encountered. Our reported total number of whales above does not represent all the whales in the area. *There were many other spouts and whales visible in the near distance that we did not have time to follow closely. At one point there were several breaching humpback whales about a mile away so that only their spectacular splash was seen by most.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.