Red Crabs inside the Cave

Bob Perrycommon dolphins, Condor Express, humpback whales, Risso dolphins, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz Island

Our trip tracks for today’s excursion.


2016 05-11 SB Channel

Captain Dave and his crew found abundant pelagic red crabs inside the world-famous Painted Cave.  And if this was not enough, the trip today also racked-up a whopping 7 humpback whale sightings, 250 long-beaked common dolphins, 1 Mola mola and 10 or so Risso’s dolpins.  Skies featured the typical Spring low clouds and gloom, but once again sea conditions were very good.  Here’s the animal sightings story:

There was a spectacular oceanic hot spot with seabirds, dolphins and at least 5 humpback whales about 6 miles southwest of Santa Barbara Harbor.  Although there was no humpback surface lunge feeding, the beasts were highly animated and often raced about and kicked up their tail flukes in groups.  I don’t think the bait fish were very deep.  About 250 dolphins were in the mix as well as the usual mob of California sea lions.

Moving offshore towards the west end of Santa Cruz Island a lone tail-throwing humpback was observed in the distance, but its batteries went dead by the time we arrived on the scene.  At the Island we were greeted by around 10 Risso’s dolphins moving east along the sea cliffs.   Dave did his tour of the northwestern coast of the Island including the pelagic red crab bonanza inside the Painted Cave.  Outside the Cave, our friend Mark located both a bald eagle and a peregrine falcon (not together).

About 5 miles outside the Harbor on the way home yet another humpback whale was watched and, during this sighting, a nice ocean sunfish (Mola mola) was spotted.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Bob Perry
Condor Express