2018 02-25 SB Coast – Spectacular weather and sea conditions made for great wildlife watching today. Captain Dave and his second Captain Tasha located the following: 5 offshore bottlenose dolphins, 250 long-beaked common dolphins, 2 humpback whales and 8 gray whales.
It was but a few minutes after departing Santa Barbara Harbor that we encountered the first of our gray whales. This was a pair of juvenile whales and they were northbound like most of them are right now.
Soon we received a call from our friend Sherry who led us to more whales about 10 miles out. There was a lot of life in this area and our first encounter was with a second pair of small, northbound grays. As we watched the grays a small pod of common dolphins passed through the zone. To the east of the grays, Tasha located taller spouts and we ended up finding a pair of humpback whales here too. Just to pile on even more wildlife, a second similar-sized pod of common dolphins was located.
On the way home Dave slowed down and we put a gaff on a derelict Mylar balloon that was sure to cause trouble if not put in the trash.
The afternoon cruise started with a few bottlenose dolphins that passed us by. They were heading west, and we were going east…off Hendry’s Beach. We then located and closely followed a single gray whale off the 1000 steps beach. It swam along the kelp beds heading west, then, as we all watched, it turned around and began to backtrack east. No one ever accused gray whales of traveling in a straight line.
Two more gray whales were spotted (at a distance of 5 miles away, by Tasha) at the far western end of More Mesa. We had great looks. Dave decided to take an outside loop back towards the harbor and do a search. Eventually we ended up with a single gray whale about ¾-mile off the old Miramar.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.