Pelican Bay blue whales and dolphins.

Bob Perrywhale watching california

Land of the giant blue whales! Santa Barbara Channel.

2020 08-10 SB Channel

The current population of giant blue whales in our area is distributed along an east-west line about 4 miles north of the islands. For the past week or so we have had fabulous times with the giants from the west end of Santa Cruz Island to the middle of Santa Rosa Island.  Captain Colton changed things up today and explored the eastern edge of the “land of the giants,” near the middle and eastern portions of Santa Cruz. Sightings for the trip included 5 giant blue whales, 500 long-beaked common dolphins and 1 large ocean sunfish (Mola mola).

Dolphins were watched surface feeding on northern anchovies close to the harbor entrance buoy where diving birds, particularly elegant terns, marked their location. More of these animated small cetaceans would be seen later in the trip near The Lanes and, again, on the trip home.

The giants were feeding sub-surface in a fairly tight formation smack dab in the middle of the southbound lane. Of the 5 we met originally, 3 moved slowly east and 2 went west. Captain Colton followed the westbound beasts and we had a wonderful encounter with them. Things did get a bit nervous for a few minutes as 5 huge container cargo vessels, about 1 mile apart, moved up the nearby northbound lane. These ships were moving along at speeds between 10 and 20 knots, and we hoped none of our blue whales would stray into their path. As it turned out, the whales didn’t. The lone Mola was watched in this same area.

Our westerly course brought the Condor Express close to beautiful, historic Pelican Bay and Colton gave a short tour of this section of Santa Cruz Island along with a nice slow cruise around this picturesque anchorage.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.


Bob Perry
Condor Express, and
CondorExpressPhotos.com