2015 07-02 SB Channel
The tropical clouds which were creating partly cloudy skies as we left the dock at 10 am quickly dissipated and the rest of the day was bright and sunny. There was no swell whatsoever. Winds started off near zero and by the afternoon came up to about 15 knots, creating a fabulous day of whale watching in the Santa Barbara Channel. Here's the chronology:
At 1035 we watched one fast-moving (7 kts) humpback whale about 6 miles south of The Mesa. It fluked up a few times but was preoccupied with its migration. We moved south a bit.
At 1053 yet another westward bound humpback #whale was encountered and it, too, appeared to be all about migrating. Just about then it threw its tail twice to wake up the whale fans on board. We headed southeast. Around
1130 Captain Eric stopped on a small herd of 50 long-beaked common dolphins. They played, left, came back and finally headed west. We continued southeast.
1148 - A few minutes past the small #dolphin pod we found an area with 3 humpback whales because one of them was slapping its long pectoral fin and we could see it several miles away. Another 500 long-beaked common dolphins were in this area. At this point we were about 3 miles south of Platform Habitat and quickly continued our trek to the southeast.
1246 pm - About 4 miles north of Anacapa Island we got into a zone with several blue whales. We were able to set-up and get great looks at two of these giants. The water temperature here was 67.5F, and we suspect the blues were searching for submerged schools of pelagic red crabs.
115 - We turned around and headed home for Santa Barbara.
157 - Passing through a broad area of dolphins and humpback whales just south of Hillhouse, we closely watched 8 whales and an additional 500 dolphins. That would wrap-up the cetacean sightings for this wonderful adventure.
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A California sea lion rests on the harbor entrance buoy. This animal was temporarily captured by a rescue team which removed nylon fishing line that was wrapped around the neck. The damage, called a necklace wound, is still visible but the prognosis is good.