Sea Lion Masses Steal the Show

Bob Perrybottlenose dophins, California gray whale, Dall's Porpoise, Santa Barbara Channel, Santa Cruz Island, sea lion

One of many large rafts of California Sea Lions. photo:  Bob Perry

One of many large rafts of California Sea Lions.
photo: Bob Perry

Sea Lion Masses steal the Show

The weather was simply divine today.  If the Beaufort Scale people allowed decimals, it would have been 0 – 0.2 for the sea state all morning long.  Again the strong Santa Ana winds to the east of us kept our region sunny, warm and very nice for cetaceans and mammals in general.  All across the Santa Barbara Channel we saw lots and lots of various auklets and shearwaters working on the mirror glass surface.  Upon arriving at Santa Cruz Island, we immediately were greeted by an enormous and wide spread mixture of offshore bottlenose dolphins and their larger cousins, the Risso’s dolphins.  It was interesting to see them mixing together off the West End of the Island.  We guessed at least 125 Risso’s and 35 or so bottlenose dolphins for the area.

Next we ran up inside the Santa Cruz Channel and quickly got positioned to observe a pair of adult gray whales.  They were cooperative with tall spouts and showed their tail flukes on almost every dive.  This was framed by the majestic panoramic views of both Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands in the background.  Santa Rosa was particularly green looking, considering the lack of rain we’ve had so far this season.  After a nice long viewing session with the two gray whales, it was time to head back across the Channel.  Just off the island we encountered numerous masses of rafting California sea lions.  The total number of these furry little guys must have been 500 or more.  You can see one of these rafts in the photograph at the top of this report.  It was amazing.   Further along the route home, we saw several large pods of those black and white little torpedoes, the Dall’s porpoise, which rode the bow and ran alongside the Condor Express giving all the humans great looks.

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