2014 10-09 SB Channel
We watched 3 humpback whales closely but there were plenty of other spouts around the area. The bait was near the sea floor and hence the down times were long-ish. The skies were blue and so was the water...so once again the clarity of the ocean enhanced all of the sightings. Wow. We found and played with both species of common dolphins today. The long beaked species was on the coast side, and the short beaked species was close to Santa Cruz. There were at least 1,000 of each species. Per usual, the short beaked common dolphins were highly animated. The did a ton of leaping high and at one point several were tail walking like Flipper did on TV. Most of the black vented shearwaters and other marine birds like the red necked phalaropes were sitting on the water resting. After the long beaked commons and all the humpbacks, we made course for the world famous Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island. Conditions near the island were spectacular and the Cave was Mill Pond flat and glassy. After a run down the west end, north face of Santa Cruz we headed back across the Santa Barbara Channel. We did not get very far off the island before we encountered a mixed group of those big offshore bottlenose dolphins AND Risso's dolphins together. It was a great sight to see. This gave us a scorecard of 5 different species of cetaceans today
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More balloon trash on the ocean surface. Practically every morning at certain times of the year the winds turn offshore and the city junk in the air blows out to sea. The sea is not a trashcan. These items to not degrade easily and when they eventually loose their greenhouse gas helium inside, their flat carcasses can be confused as food by animals the feed on gelatinous animals. Let's ban helium balloons now!
I have never seen this before. Cormorants gather on a drifting giant kelp paddy on the open ocean where I saw them diving below then coming up in the kelp rubbing their backs on the seaweed. Another example of giant kelp being used to clean and/or remove parasites from an animal?