2018 05-13 SB Coast
Today we ran our last coastal whale watching trips for northbound migrating gray whales. Two trips left the docks at SEA Landing in Santa Barbara Harbor, one at 9 am and the other at noon. Captain Tasha and her crew were able to locate the following species: 400 long-beaked common dolphins, 2 inshore bottlenose dolphins and 2 gray whales. It was overcast and drizzly in the morning, but things got warm and sunny later with glassy seas.
In the morning we found scattered feeding groups of common dolphins stretched out from Leadbetter Point to the eastern end of the East Beach anchorage. There were lots of little calves in the mix, and sporadic high speed, upside-down, attacks were seen as the dolphins tried to massacre the little northern anchovies. A bit later, as we moved slowly west along the edge of the kelp, two bottlenose dolphins were watched as they moved on a steady course to the west.
The noon trip featured warm, sunny skies and, as mentioned above, glassy seas. We headed east this time and searched the coast all the way to the Carpinteria Reef area. Here Tasha turned offshore and then got news over the radio about a school of common dolphins to the west. Our friends on the sailing vessel, Endeavor, was engaged with the dolphins when we arrived on the scene. Dozens of common dolphins were riding the bow, side and stern waves of this sailboat and that was great to see.
Time was running out and we were heading back to the harbor when we came across two gray whales. It was, per usual, a mother gray whale and her young calf. They were heading west and skirting the edge of the kelp beds. Several bubble blasts at one point may have signaled an underwater and out of view nursing stop. The mother whale spy-hopped for us at this sighting.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Condor Express, and