2020 07-25 SB Channel
Santa Barbara to Santa Rosa Island, round trip results: 12+ giant blue whales, 50 Risso’s dolphins, 100 offshore bottlenose dolphins, 200 long-beaked common dolphins. Seas were flat and calm again with the usual high stratus layer.
The common dolphin fun began before we reached the sea lions on the harbor entrance buoy. This is the closest to shore I can recall seeing common dolphins. Wow! Later we’d have more common dolphins mixed with the whales and more during the end of the trip. In The Lanes a nice pod of about 50 offshore bottlenose dolphins located the Condor Express. A second group was also mixed in with the giants. The bottlenose dolphins were playful, boat-friendly but did not exhibit aerial activities today.
South of The Lanes and north of Santa Rosa Island we closely watched at least a dozen giant blue whales. Additional spouts (perhaps as many as 20) were seen in the distance, particularly to the west of our location. There were loads of beautiful tail flukes observed including one from a mother that was accompanied by a calf/juvenile. A few fast and furious episodes of near-surface sideways lunge-feeding were seen. No krill was visible from the surface, but there was strong proof of krill beneath the surface post-digestion.
A medium sized pod of Risso’s dolphins swam through the zone as we were watching all the other cetaceans. It is always special to have a visit from these unique animals.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Condor Express, and