2015 04-28 SB Coast
Immediately after leaving our customary visit with the California sea lions on the harbor entrance buoy we spotted 2 gray whales, a mother and calf. They led us west into the wind and their glowing bodies were easy to track in the previously mentioned clear water. Before long our attention was diverted to a mob of at least 25 porpoising sea lions that had just a single Pacific white-sided dolphin in the mix. (Sighting a single white-sider all by itself with a mob of sea lions raises a bunch of questions). Sharp-eyed Augie-the-deckhand found us about 8 coastal bottlenose dolphins traveling west in the kelp along the shore. They made one pass out to the Condor, then resumed their travel.
Up ahead of the bottlenose dolphins there were more tall spouts. This turned out to be 4 more gray whales, you guessed it, 2 mothers each with calves. The four stayed together the whole time, from our initial sighting with them at Hendry's Beach until we left them at Goleta. Further to the west off the Goleta Pier there was a mega-pod of long-beaked common dolphins scattered across a wide swath of ocean. There were easily 1,500 of these hungry little cetaceans and a bunch more sea lions joining the fun. Before long it was time to go and the course back to the harbor took us past a second group of 20 or so porpoising sea lions.
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According to Jones, Swartz and Leatherwood in "The Gray Whale" bubble blasts by gray whales produce a distinct underwater sound, part of the gray whale phonation repertoire, and in Laguna San Ignacio this class of sound can be transmitted underwater at least 2.5 kilometers.