Many blue whales today, we closely watched a dozen. Loads of active dolphins too.

Bob Perrywhale watching californiaLeave a Comment

An illustrated chart of our course today, from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz Island and back. Three main sighting locations are marked by species icons. Chart from

2020 08-01 SB Channel

The skies were sunny and bright all day! Seas, on the other hand, were not dangerous but just a tad whipped-up. As I’ve mentioned before, when the ocean surface gets rough, it offers us citizens a rare glimpse into the “real” lives of our local cetaceans. Captain Dave and his crew located and closely watched:  12+ giant blue whales, 1500 long-beaked common dolphins and 6 Risso’s dolphins.

As you can see in the illustration above, there were three activity areas on our trek out to the western end of Santa Cruz Island and back. Dolphins provided great looks at the first two spots. They rode the big swells and leaped over the oncoming waves. A few became friendly and rode the bow of the Condor Express.  A few small scattered dolphin groups were seen on the ride home later in the trip.  At the mid-Channel spot a few Risso’s dolphins were also observed.

The land of the giants (blue whale active zone) was south of The Lanes and north of Fraser Point, Santa Cruz Island. Spout spray was sent flying high into the atmosphere by the strength of the breeze. The entire bright blue body of a whale was seen through the wave face as a swell rolled past us. (The whales are not blue themselves, but their light gray natural coloration shines blue when they are seen under the surface on a sunny day). Encounters like this are always memorable.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry
Condor Express, and

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