A friendly Minke whale.

Yikes! Common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, Minke, humpbacks, grays.

2019 04-22 SB Coast

Captain Colton and the crew of the Condor Express found bright sunny skies and good whale watching conditions in the coastal waters of Santa Barbara today. Two trips went out looking for wildlife: one at 9 AM, the other at 12 noon. Total sightings for the day included 1000 short-beaked common dolphins, one Minke whale, two gray whales, six humpback whales, and 50 coastal bottlenose dolphins. What a day!

We started up the coast at 9 AM and immediately we were discovered by a megapod of common dolphins. They were highly animated with lots of aerial acrobatics. Soon we discovered a mother gray whale with her very young calf. These two were in shallow water and were interacting with a pod of about 25 bottlenose dolphins. Great to see! The whales and dolphins soon moved into the coastal kelp forest and wave impact zone, so we moved a little further outside. Out in deeper water we found a trio of humpback whales, first we watched a pair and then we found that additional single. Great looks were had. While we were out in deeper water, we also found a single Minke whale that was riding the swells that were left over from the high winds that blew last night. Everybody’s gone surfing!

The noon trip started with yet another look at the bottlenose dolphins that we had seen in the morning. The group had become more animated with a lot more leaping and chasing going on. We followed this pod from the harbor entrance west to about More Mesa. Along the way, a few California sea lions joined the fun. Next we headed out to deep water and found 3+ additional humpback whales (that were different than the three we saw this morning). Again we started with a pair, then picked up an additional single. There were additional spots in the area. One of the whales was doing some strange open mouth feeding at the surface but without any lunging… just opening and closing its mouth kind of like skimming the anchovies. Very unusual and semi-crocodilian.

You never know what Mother Nature has in store.

Bob Perry
Condor Express, and
CondorExpressPhotos.com