2018 02-17 SB Channel – An amazing day with 5 fin whales, 3 humpback whales, 1200 long-beaked common dolphins and 1 orca closely watched. Captain Dave and his crew report ideal conditions once again in the Santa Barbara Channel as the Condor Express traversed the Channel to Santa Cruz Island and back again in search of wildlife.
Just outside the harbor a small pod of 200 or so dolphins located the Condor Express and both humans and dolphins enjoyed the observation time.
Continuing south towards the island a group of 5 giant fin whales (with more in the area) were encountered. Once again the water was very clear and the sightings were fantastic. Several friendly, close approached by the whales made it even more special. About 1000 additional dolphins were also in the mix.
As we approached the world-famous Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island a single humpback whale was sighted and watched. Another spout closer to the island turned out to be a single, large male Orcinus orca (formerly known as a “killer whale”). Photos of this orca and analyzed by experts revealed it was CA49b, known affectionately as “Richie,” in honor of the late, Richard Ternullo, one of our brother whale watch boat captains from Monterey. Richie (the orca) is 18 years old and made a couple of surprise close up visits to the Condor Express. Wow!
Dave and the crew then found calm seas near the majestic sea cliffs of the northern island shoreline and were able to include an entry into the outer chamber of The Cave as part of a nice tour along the island. After leaving The Cave and en route home, 2 additional humpback whales were watched. The second one was actively throwing its tail and slapping its long pectoral fins.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.