Massive dolphin populations and wonderful blue whales too!

Bob Perrywhale watching californiaLeave a Comment

A nice look at a pair of surfing Risso's dolphins in the Santa Barbara Channel.

2020 07-30 SB Channel

Fog limited our lateral visibility but dissipated a few miles offshore…the rest of the day was bright and sunny.  Similarly, the day started out without wind and with glasslike seas, but as we moved far offshore to the southwest, it became moderately breezy and fun. Sightings for the day included: 3+ giant blue whales, 20 Risso’s dolphins, 3400 short-beaked common dolphins and 40 long-beaked common dolphins. It is quite unusual for the short-beaked species to be so abundant as compared with their long-beaked cousins in our area.

As for the above mentioned common dolphins, the only long-beaks reported were offshore just about where the fog gave way to sun. They were actively surface feeding and did not do as much boat wake surfing as when they less preoccupied. Southwest of The Lanes the first mega pod of short-beaks were carefully watched. An even larger mega pod was located a bit later in the trip. Both groups were highly animated with plenty of leaping and tail-walking.

Among several very high-flyers, one leaped up as high as the fly bridge of the Condor Express where our amazed (and amazing) crew was shocked to be looking eyeball-to-eyeball with the dolphin. Wow!  Between the two mega pods our keen-eyed deckhand, Devin, aka “Osprey-eyes,” spotted a small and somewhat shy group of Risso’s dolphins. The Risso’s had 10+ minute down times with plenty of course heading changes.

Out to the west and just north of Carrington Point, Santa Rosa Island, a single shy giant blue whale soon led us to 3 additional giants (a pair of adults plus a single). Coincidentally, all showed nice tail fluking today. There were many more spouts in the area, which might spell good news for tomorrow and the days ahead.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry
Condor Express, and
CondorExpressPhotos.com

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