Mirror Glass, Many Mammal Species and a pair of Bald Eagles Today
A tiny bit of haze but extremely glassy conditions again today on the Santa Barbara Channel as the Condor Express motored out for another adventure packed trip full of unexpected surprises.
The first surprise of the day was a big pod of 15 or more elusive Dall’s porpoise that warmed up to the Condor, rode the bow, and traveled alongside us clearly visible in the crystal clear blue water. This was a major Dall’s sighting, and later we would encounter several other pods of these little bullets for a total of at least 25 for the trip.
Just inside the commercial shipping lanes we closely followed a tight group of 4 adult gray whales. Their down times were pushing 5-6 minutes, but they always surfaced together as a group and always fluked up on the final descent. No particular hanky-panky was witnessed, so we don’t know if this was formally a “mating pod.”
On our way over to the north face of Santa Cruz Island our 2nd Captain Eric spotted a wide spread area of big Risso’s dolphins. This was another great species to watch, and there was some “social interaction” going on between two of the Risso’s causing a lot of surface commotion and ultimately some sideways low level breaching. Very cool.
After a great look inside the world famous Painted Cave, a birder on board with us today with great “eagle eyes” eyesight spotted not one, but two bald eagles perched on the volcanic sea cliffs right next to the Cave. The two turned out to be Santa Cruz Island eagles #49 and #64, and they were sitting within a few feet of each other making for some spectacular views and photos too.
More Risso’s and even more Dall’s porpoise were seen on the trip back to Santa Barbara, still on a mirror glass surface in the afternoon.
It was a very special day.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store out there.
An open trip will run tomorrow, Sunday, and we are down for regular maintenance on Monday and Tuesday.
Hope to see you on board soon,