2016 05-31 SB Channel
The low stratus layer lifted a bit in the afternoon, so too the cool breeze dropped off and the sea surface remained glassy after 12 noon. Long-beaked common dolphins were everywhere we went in the Santa Barbara Channel today with groups ranging in size from 1000 individuals down to a mere 200 – 300. By the time we got home we had watched at least 3,500 of these little beasts. Some were feeding on the surface upside down, others were upside down for other reasons, and there was plenty of attention paid to the bow wave and stern waves of the Condor Express. I believe this species would much rather surf than eat or mate. Of course, being quite agile, the frequently ride waves and do other things at the same time.
We watched 4 or 5 humpback whales today as we traveled from Santa Barbara Harbor southeast to the Flats and back. Most of them had long down times and paid no attention to the boat. One was located because it breached once and slapped its tail a dozen times about a mile east of our location. When we got on the scene it had converted to a long down time, deep feeder like all the others. Minke whales were also around the area, and we saw at least 4 different individuals.
Perhaps the most unusual sighting, in my opinion, was not a marine mammal. On a glassy surface with gray skies, I spotted a surface finning blue shark and when Captain Dave slowly inched us up next to it, there were actually two blue sharks in close proximity. Deck hand Eric claims one of them regurgitated some food which he cited the Discovery Channel as saying this is quite common. You learn something every day and…
You never know what Mother Nature has in store.