Summer weather continues. Phenomenal sightings including a very large pod of coastal bottlenose dolphins.

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A coastal bottlenose dolphin photographed off the coast of Santa Barbara.

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.
Bob Perry
Condor Express, and
CondorExpressPhotos.com

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