2017 06-19 SB Channel
Although there was a thin stratus layer all day with only a few patches of bright sunlight, the ocean was calm and even mirror glass out near Santa Cruz Island. With this in mind, Captain Dave and his crew located 8 blue whales, 7 humpback whales, 1,500 long-beaked common dolphins, and one fast look at a Minke whale. The past 2-3 week trend for tremendous cetacean biomass in our area certainly continued today.
We slowed down to watch a small pod of dolphins when the Condor Express was just 5 minutes out of Santa Barbara Harbor. The animals were friendly and it was a nice start to the trip. About ½ hour later we spotted a hot spot south of Platform Habitat with many hundred dolphins and 3 humpback whales joining forces to deplete the northern anchovy population.
Continuing southeast, we saw our first, and very familiar, giant blue whale as we crossed The Lanes. I say “familiar,” because it was Camelo, the camelback whale seen a few days ago. Camelo is an active whale and spends quality time on the surface before kicking up its flukes to dive. Camelo also left a tell-tall trail of feces which indicates the whale is finding food down below the surface. Two additional blue whales were also nearby and we visited each.
About an hour later Dave moved us slowly west where we saw a single humpback whale and a blue whale (Camelo, again) working in close proximity. About 50 dolphins were also on the scene. Continuing west Dave “hit the jackpot” and found 5 more blue whales within a few hundred yards of each other. All were active and several could be seen at the same time on the surface. Spout spray was flying everywhere.
On our way home, Dave had a “problem.” He came upon another hot spot with many hundred dolphins and an additional 3 humpback whales. This is the kind of problem Dave likes to have. We got back to the SEA Landing a bit late.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.