Summerlike weather with humpback whales and a fin

Bob Perrychannel islands, common dolphins, Condor Express, humpback whales, Santa Cruz Island

Tail flukes from a humpback whale

 

2016 02-10 SB Channel

If I wasn’t peeking at the calendar, I swear I’d have no idea whatsoever what time of year it really is based on the weather and the whales. February is traditionally our coldest and most stormy month of the year. Coastal temperatures have been above 80F for about two weeks with no end in sight. The Santa Barbara Channel was buttery until noon when a very tiny wind from the west wafted through. As for marine mammals, this is the southbound gray whale migration with most of the population taking the “scenic route” out near the islands. Today, for the second trip in a row we did not find a single gray whale, but found loads of humpback whales (and one fin whale) instead. Don’t get me wrong.   I’m not complaining !

The trip started off with a bang as we encountered a long line of long-beaked common dolphins about 15 minutes after we cleared the harbor buoys. Given the glassy sea surface, this was a spectacular sighting because you could look down into the water and see what these little cetaceans were actually doing. Bow and stern waves provided ample opportunities for advanced body surfing.

About an hour later we were only a couple of miles north of Limuw, or Santa Cruz Island, as the Spaniards renamed it. Here we found two groups of humpback whales, a group of 3 and a group of two. There was a little kelping, a couple of close and friendly passes by the Condor Express, but long down times.   Patience paid off.

After a good long time with the two groups of humpback whales we headed home. It was not long before Captain Dave had us dead in the water, mid-Channel, waiting for another great look and a big fin whale. Wow!

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

PS   The 25% off coupon deal has been extended through February 13. Print and show the coupon, available free on our FaceBook page, to be eligible for this special deal while it lasts.

PSS On February 15 we change over our schedule to coastal northbound gray whales (with other species frequently encountered) and offer three 2.5-hour trips per day. For more information go to our website www.condorexpress.com.