A Mola mola is seen swimming towards the camera and its prey species, Velella velella.

“Rope” and her friend, lots of dolphins and a Mola eats Velella.

2019 05-12 SB Channel

Captain Colton and his crew took the Condor Express on two adventures into the Channel and Santa Barbara coastal environment. The first left at 9a, the second at 12n.  Skies were overcast in the morning and sunny in the afternoon.  Seas were glassy and calm.  Totals for the day included: 2 humpback whales, 1000 long-beaked common dolphins and 1 ocean sunfish (Mola mola).

The morning trip ran west for a few miles then made a wide loop offshore about 5 miles and then turned home again.  Along the route a large pod of dolphins located the boat and gave us great looks in the clear, glassy water.  There were numerous “by-the-wind-sailors,” planktonic hydrozoans called Velella velella.  We had great looks at a Mola mola feeding on Velella velella. [Coincidentally, both the sunfish and the hydrozoan have the same first and last name, the same genus and species.  This relatively rare occurrence is called a “tautonym.”]

The afternoon trip took a different course.  Colton headed to the far west, past Goleta, past Sands Beach, and past the Sandpiper Golf course. Here we located two humpback whales.  It was our friend “Rope” and an associate.  The pair was friendly and we had some nice, close looks. There was also another large pod of dolphins.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.


Bob Perry
Condor Express, and
CondorExpressPhotos.com

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