2014 11-05 SB Channel
Captain Dave was doing his thang as "Who's THE Man!" today out there. This whole trip was unbelievable, but trust me, I'm not making this stuff up. The day starts off being a Santa Ana summertime day. 85F in Santa Barbara, and very comfy out on the Santa Barbara Channel. Bright warm sun, blue water, no swell, hardly a ripple and you could see from Boney Ridge above Point Mugu all the way west to San Miguel. Translation: no problem spotting spouts. This whole week is supposed to be similar...whoooeee. Dave ran us to the east and smack into a mother lode of humpback whales. There were probably 13 #whales in this eastern area, but we "only" had time to set up and watch 8. The highlights included 3 massive full body breaches and later 3 humpbacks swam a direct line to the Condor Express and two of them turned together for a whole body visible duet in the crystal clear water. I got chills. Common dolphins and sea lions were abundant, but not as abundant as those we would see later near Santa Cruz Island.
In response to customer interest, Dave next steered a course for the western end of Santa Cruz Island. Not far past the shipping lane we encountered another lode of humpback whales...these were a little spread out but our friends Eileen and Michael estimated 9 in the area, and we got reasonable looks at 4. What distracted us from the rest of the humpback whales was NOT the massive megapods of long beaked common dolophins (3,000 for the day), NOR the mob after mob of California sea lions all up on the glassy surface with their pectoral flippers in the sun....none of these factors stopped the humpback sightings. However the presence of a very very tall spout pretty close to the boat DID make us reposition the boat so we could get super great looks at a giant blue whale that stayed on the surface for at least a dozen breaths...bright sun, clear water, no wind....who'd have guessed we'd be seeing a westbound blue whale along the north face of Santa Cruz Island in November? Oh, one more thing, did I mention the 75 - 100 Risso's dolphins very close to the sea cliffs...and our great look inside the world famous Painted Cave?
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Ssssh! Don't wake up the sleeping California sea lion. Sea lions "raft" together with one of their pectoral flippers in the air. This behavior alters their silhouette and perhaps makes them less of a target for predatory sharks. Evidence also suggests this behavior warms or cools the body depending on the weather and sea temp
A long line of scavenging sea birds feasts on the "by catch," or non commercial species of fish and invertebrates that were dragged up from the ocean floor by this bottom trawler. Note also the intersting mirage patterns hiding Anacapa Island in the distance.