2021 11-13 SB Channel
It was another fabulous, summer-like, sunny, warm day in the Channel with blue skies and calm seas all day. Sightings were outstanding: 2 humpback whales, 70 coastal bottlenose dolphins, 1500 long-beaked common dolphins and 300 short-beaked common dolphins.
What may be a record number of coastal bottlenose dolphins, approximately 70 animals in one area, were seen today. They were subdivided into groups of 3 – 4 individuals scattered across about a mile of beachfront waters in the vicinity of Santa Barbara Harbor. Just a few years ago the entire California population was estimated between 290 – 340 individuals.
We moved south from the bottlenose area and soon encountered our first group of long-beaked common dolphins as they were moving east. Good looks were had. We continued southbound.
Near mid-Channel we located and watched a pair of humpback whales. The pair was feeding sub-surface, perhaps deep, and had long down times. Fortunately, the pair had a habit of sounding “in slow motion” giving great looks at their tail flukes.
As we continued south towards Santa Cruz Island, we watched another large pod of long-beaked common dolphins.
Near the world-famous Painted Cave of Santa Cruz Island the crew removed a large ball of polypropylene line that had been negligently discarded.
After a tour of the sea cliffs and a trip inside the Cave, we headed home and soon encountered a herd of around 300 short-beaked common dolphins. Per usual, they were highly active and spent a lot of time in aerial activities.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Condor Express, and