Transient (Bigg's) killer whales seen in the Santa Barbara Channel.

New offshore season yields humpbacks, killer whales, a Minke and a blue shark.

2019 05-13 SB Channel

Today we put the coast of Santa Barbara behind us and took off on our first 4½ hour “Island Whale Watch” of the new season! (Of course, since whales are our first priority, we may or may not actually go to the islands, depending upon where the whales are.)  Seas were very calm again today and a marine stratus layer stayed around throughout the excursion.  Sightings included: 1 blue shark, 6 humpback whales, 3 killer whales, and 1 Minke whale.

A 4ft blue shark never left the surface, and consequently we had great looks at this fish about 2 miles south of the harbor.  What fun!  A bit further out we had our first 2 humpbacks.  They were both large adults and easy to watch.  Moving further offshore, and north of The Lanes, we encountered 3 killer whales.  Thanks to local transient Orca scientist Alisa Schulman-Janiger we know it was an adult female (CA140B) named Louise, and two smaller females.  We watched the trio for about a hour.  Wow!

Close to the west end of Santa Cruz Island a single humpback whale caught our eye, and then a trio of humpbacks (with more in the area) were spotted surrounded by active sea birds.  As we watched this hot spot, a single Minke whale passed through.

What a great way to start our offshore/island season!

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.


Bob Perry
Condor Express, and
CondorExpressPhotos.com