2015 04-30 SB Coast
Captain Dave commanded two trips today: 9 am and 12 noon. The day was nice, with partly cloudy skies and little to no wind. It was hot when the cloudy part moved aside and let the sun hit the deck… 82F in the Harbor. Both trips had the good fortune of watching gray whale mothers and calves plus an assortment of #dolphins.
Just outside the entrance to Santa Barbara Harbor we ran alongside about 150 long-beaked common dolphins with lots of little calves in the mix. The herd was heading west and so were we in our quest to find gray whales while still enjoying the little cetaceans. We did locate a mother-calf gray whale pair about a mile off the beach outside Goleta Pier. The two were regular and predictable as they maintained a pretty straight course. It was a good sighting. On the way back to the Harbor we passed through acres and acres of Velella velella and, as one might expect, 6 or so hungry Mola mola.
Cruising along the kelp in search of #whales, our first cetacean sighting of this excursion was when deckhand Eric spied 8 coastal bottlenose dolphins in the kelp. Dave positioned the Condor Express so these large dolphins were enticed out of the forest and made several passes over to the boat. There was at least one calf in the pod. Off Hope Ranch we located what was probably the same herd of long-beaked common dolphins, about 150, that we had played with on the morning trip. It was all the way up at More Mesa that we caught up with another mother gray whale with her calf. Everyone got great looks and we followed along up to Campus Point. Off UCSB there was another, smaller, pod of common dolphins with about 50 individuals. On the way back to the Harbor we, again, traveled through all the Velella velella and Dave stopped for us to watch (and photograph) 3 Mola mola out of about 8 seen. We were almost home when we came across a second mother-calf gray whale pair off Shoreline Drive.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.