Special Santa Barbara Channel vistas and whales too.
The Santa Barbara Channel was magnificent; slate gray, hardly any wind and spectacular above water vistas. One could see Bony Ridge (Malibu) to Pt. Conception and all four Channel Islands. The day started with a relatively tame common loon that was observed swimming around close to the Condor Express inside Santa Barbara Harbor. Our trip across the Channel was smooth and uneventful, but once we crossed the southbound shipping lane, spouts were seen all around the north face of Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Island. We closely watched 6 humpback whales, three of which were very friendly and surfaced next to the boat to the surprise and enjoyment of the whale fans. After that gray whale that was sighted near Stern’s Wharf yesterday, Captain Dave took a quick peek into the Santa Cruz Channel just in case the pier whale wasn’t alone. Finding no extremely early gray whales today, we had a wonderful tour of the west end of Santa Cruz Island and the world famous Painted Cave.
Heading homeward from the Cave there was a massive herd of at least 1,000 long beaked common dolphins that was widely scattered and provided great looks. Next we watched about 20 or so Risso’s dolphins in the crystal clear blue water and indirect lighting. This provided better than average photo opps for sure. About this time our second Captain “Eagle Eyes Eric” located a very tall spout and a giant blue whale. Our final cetacean of the day was this magnificent blue creature. The ride home was one of those where everyone wanted to be outside and just enjoy the silver sky and water views. Very special Santa Barbara Channel vistas for sure.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
I’ll post up the photos from today as soon as possible to the web.