Killer whale and calf from today's trip. Photo courtesy of Adam Ernster

What a day: Grays, Humpbacks, Orcas and a couple thousand dolphins too.

2019 04-06 SB Channel

Captain Tasha and her crew ran an epic two trips into the fertile waters off the Santa Barbara coast, especially offshore from UCSB.  It was sunny and conditions were fantastic…so were the sightings:  3 gray whales, 12 humpback whales, 2750 long-beaked common dolphins and 6 killer whales.  Trips left the docks at 9a and 12n.

The morning trip headed west and quickly found 3 northbound migrating gray whales near the Lighthouse.  After some nice, fast looks, we were engulfed by a super pod of common dolphins that stretched for several miles up the coast.  Four humpback whales were located, with dolphins, off Campus Point.  It was two pairs, and one of the pairs was very friendly and fantastic looks were had by all.

The noon trip headed back to Campus Point and quickly located 4 additional humpback whales mixed with another large pod of dolphins.  After some great looks, additional spouts further offshore turned out to be 6 killer whales (Orcinus orca) mixed with 4 more humpback whales…a very unusual occurrence.  Tasha did not see any attacks on the humpbacks, but did witness one adult humpback charging the killer whales and causing them to scatter for a short while.  The presence of the killer whales appeared to cause a common dolphin “stampede.”  As a side note for plankton lovers, the same region was festooned with “Purple sailors,” Vellela vellela.

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