A humpback whale with its white pectoral flippers shining beneath the surface.

Three humpback whales, loads of dolphins and a sunfish.

2018 08-18 SB Channel

Superior weather and sea conditions made it ideal for locating and watching wildlife in the Santa Barbara Channel today.  This resulted in 3 humpback whales, 1000 long-beaked common dolphins, and 1 ocean sunfish (Mola mola) being closely observed.

There were two prime activity zones or hotspots today.  One was located 7 miles north of the world-famous Painted Cave.  Here, in a zone surrounded by pod after pod of dolphins, two separate whales were monitored.  Each of the whales today followed a similar pattern to what has been their habit this week.  Dolphins are quick to find, attack, and “ball-up” schools of bait fish. The humpbacks follow the quicker dolphins and make a pass or two through the bait engulfing most of the fish.  The dolphins then swim on to the next aggregation of bait.

The second activity zone was about 5 miles west of the first.  On our way, a single large Mola mola or ocean sunfish was watched.  Whale watchers also had a rare and close-up look at a container cargo ship which was travelling in The Lanes at 20 knots.  A third whale was located in this area and everyone had great looks.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.
Bob Perry
Condor Express, and
CondorExpressPhotos.com