Condor Express - SEA Landing
301 W. Cabrillo Blvd.
Santa Barbara, CA  93101

(805) 882-0088 (Phone)   |   (888) 779-4253 (Toll Free)   |   (805) 965-0942 (Fax)

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Year Founded:
    1973

Description:
   This all-new, 75 foot, high-speed catamaran is the most comfortable & advanced vessel on the west coast, in the premier Whale Watching & Party/Dinner Cruise venue in California. Crew members are experienced naturalists. Come ride with the experts.
    The Santa Barbara Channel is home to over 30 different species of whales, dolphins, and seals and sealions that visit throughout the year, making these waters some of the most consistent locations found anywhere to view a variety of marine mammals. The Discovery Channel's "Wonders of our National Parks" highlighted the outstanding abundance of marine life in the Santa Barbara Channel and named it "One of the 10 Best Places in the WORLD to View Wildlife."
    From May through November (summer season) our cruising grounds include the nutrient rich waters around Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel Islands. It's this area that is generally considered to contain one of the world's highest concentration of feeding blue whales and humpback whales in the world! In the winter and spring months we visit with the California gray whale herd as it passes by on both their Southern and Northern migration.
    The CONDOR EXPRESS is available for private charters for those who wish to book the entire vessel for any type of function or event, including birthdays, weddings, fundraisers, anniversaries, or a sunset cruise. Groups can be as small as 10 people or up to 149 persons. The CONDOR EXPRESS is just what your group needs for that perfect experience on the water. Its large, luxuriously teak paneled, walk through cabin offers comfortable booth seating for up to 68 people! A complete galley, cocktail bar, buffet hot table and salad bar. And catering is always available from light snacks and hors d'oeuvres to full dinners. We also offer regularly-scheduled Open Party Cocktail/Sunset Cruises along the coast, as well as Adventure Cruises such as Pelagic Bird Trips, Island Kayaking, and much more throughout the year. The CONDOR EXPRESS is also the perfect platform for educational and research trips, as well as marine-oriented film work. It has the speed and stability to work comfortably anywhere your research needs take you, and is well equipped with state of the art navigational equipment, a large working deck, and the ability to work underwater equipment.


Activities Available:
    Birding,  Cruises,  Kayaking,  Tours,  Whale Watching,  Wildlife Tours,  

Business Categories:
    Bird Watching,    Boat Charters,    Boat Charters,    Deep-Sea Fishing,    Kayaking & Canoeing,    Tours,    Whale Watching,    Whale Watching,    Whale Watching,    Wildlife Tours,

Business Hours:
    Summer: 24/7 -- Winter: 6 am - 7 pm

Payment Accepted:
    Cash,   MasterCard,   Visa,  Debit Card,  

Admittance:
    During normal business hours

Location Type:
    Boat

Languages Spoken:
    English,  

Indoor/Outdoor:
    Outdoor Location

Handicapped Accessible?
    Yes

Smoking?
    Some restrictions

Cell Phones?
    Permitted

Cameras/Recording Equip.?
    Permitted

Pets Allowed?
    No

Gift Certificates?
    Available for Sale

Classes Offered?
    Yes.


 
 Recent News & Buzz!!
7/29/15 - One of the All-Time Summer Excursions !
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The following raw numbers do not tell the whole story ..... Humpbacks = 4 ... Blue whale = 1 ... Minke whales = 2 ... Risso’s dolphins = 50 ... Common dolphins = 1,200.
So here is the entire saga. Sea conditions were optimum, flat, no wind, sunny and we still had that very blue, clear water. We initially ran to the far east, then moved west along the north edge of the shipping lanes. Just past Habitat, on the first (easterly) leg we spotted our first humpback whale and had great looks as we followed along at a safe distance. Many long-beaked common dolphins were also in the area. We continued to move east.
Out near the G-Spot and the southern edge of The Flats there were 3 more humpback whales. This included a mother humpback with her calf and another very large whale escort. The trio was pretty much all business at first, with the little calf doing some surface “chomps.” After nice looks Captain Dave and his crew moved the Condor Express over a large northern anchovy bait ball so the whale fans on board could see what was motivating all this marine life. To everyone’s amazement the little calf continued to follow the bait ball, even up close to the boat. Of course, more common dolphins were here to feed as well. The crystal water clarity enhanced everything. Wow! What fantastic views.
On the second leg of the excursion we doubled-back and followed The Ledge west paralleling Santa Cruz Island. At a point just south of Habitat we first encountered a large pod of Risso’s dolphins. Again, the water clarity really made these white #dolphins show up against the deep blue depths below. Soon we found 2 Minke whales that were in the same region chasing bait. There were regular down and up times and finally one of the pair made a bee-line to the Condor Express and paid us a friendly visit. It rolled around and showed us its stripes and the entire body was easily seen. It also swam back and forth under the boat. This super friendly encounter was repeated 3 more times, until the crew spotted another, larger spout nearby. This turned out to be a giant blue #whale with short (7 minute) down times. The “blue streak” of this massive beast really lit up under the surface and made it easy for everyone to follow. All together this was one of the most epic summer days we have had so far this year, especially in terms of the diversity and exceptionally friendly behavior of the whales. And that’s the whole story.
7/27/15 - Minke, Humpback, Commons and Bright Sun
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Another bright, sunny day in the Santa Barbara Channel made it perfect for finding spouts and enjoying cetaceans. There was a moderate breeze and some small seas, too, which enhanced the #whale and #dolphin viewing. Captain Eric and his crew took an easterly approach today and along the route had 3 or 4 nice pods of long-beaked common dolphins totally 250 or so for the day.
Down east in the “G-spot” region (between the 3 “G” oil platforms) we got great looks at a Minke whale that acted more like a humpback. It ran a nice line, had regular down times and excellent surface looks. Later the crew located a nice humpback whale with unusually light skin, given the great underwater visibility, you could really see this whale down deep as it passed under the boat.
7/22/15 - 15 Humpbacks, 3 Minke Whales and 2000 Dolphins
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This should be about the last day for us to feel the weather effects stemming from Hurricane Dolores which has long ago turned into a tropical depression and has moved out to sea away from our area. But it was another “muggy” day with partly cloudy sub-tropical skies and a few regions of fog and drizzle mixed in particularly before noon. The ocean conditions have never been better. It was another day of mill pond glass and no swell at all in the Santa Barbara Channel. There was good lateral visibility when we were not in the odd, small fog bank and spotting spouts was never a problem.
We left Santa Barbara Harbor at the regular time (10 am) and moved quickly to the southeast. At 1050 am we entered a large area of productivity filled with spots of long beaked common dolphins (at least 1,000), sooty shearwaters, elegant terns, but where have all the brown pelicans gone lately…are they all nesting now? We closely watched 8 humpback whales in this area in the 1hour we spent there. Three Minke whales, one small and two large, were also on patrol and one came up directly under the Condor Express for a great view of a semi-shy species. At 1200 pm we moved onward to the so-called blue whale hot spots to scan the region as we had not been down to the east for a while.
1225 pm found us about 1 mile north of the eastern end of Santa Cruz Island and well south of the busy shipping lanes. Another hot spot was found here but alas, no blue whales. 6 more humpback whales were on the prowl here along with another 500 #dolphins. Three large container ships passed through the northbound lanes while we were up to the east exploring.
We left the #whale and dolphins for a quick but pleasant tour of the northeastern sea cliffs and coves of Santa Cruz Island including a nice look inside Potato Harbor. It was getting late and we started on a northwest track back to the Harbor. Not too far off the island we encountered our last humpback of the trip, another 500 long-beaked common dolphins, and a mylar balloon (which deckhand Augie retrieved). The trip back was equally flat and calm.
7/18/15 - 20+ humpback whales and 3,000+ dolphins too
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Captain Dave and his renowned crew successfully watched 20 humpback whales (with more in the distance) and a heart-thumping 3,000+ long-beaked common dolphins. It was a mill pond flat glass day with epic sea conditions from start to finish. A great visit to the Painted Cave and the west end of Santa Cruz Island put the icing on the cake.
Although there was no surface lunge feeding like we saw yesterday, the #whales were actively moving around a series of small hot spots that we used like stepping stones to move across the Santa Barbara Channel today. As they were moving around, several made close passes by the Condor Express and thrilled the whale fans on board. Each stone had its entourage of #dolphins.
7/16/15 - Just announced ... Hawaiian Party Cruise -- Friday July 31, on the Condor Express
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Joanie Collins returns from Hawaii to perform with special guests aboard the Condor Express for a full moon night of magical Hawaiian music and Aloha. She is well known for her electric violin, enchanting vocals, and `ukulele. Joanie resides in Kailua-Kona, on the island of Hawaii. The cruise includes appetizers and a no-host full bar serves beer, wine and mixed drinks at happy hour prices.
The Condor Express provides both style and comfort. The large, luxurious, teak-paneled walk-through cabin features smoked-glass windows and skylights. The Condor’s multi-hull design provides a smooth ride. The cruise is set for 6 PM departure returning at 8:30. Tickets are $30 advance and $35 on the day of cruise.
Presented by ... Condor Express - SEA Landing
Venue ... Condor Express- SEA Landing  Website
7/15/15 - Giant Blue Whale & 14 Humpbacks & 2,200 Dolphins
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We left Santa Barbara Harbor with patchy fog and a very light breeze, and we ran southwest. Not too far off Campus Point we ran into a nice hot zone with humpback whales (10), Long-beaked common dolphins (1,000) and a nice bunch of crash-diving elegant terns. We moved around this zone for over an hour, paying homage to each individual #whale with its compliment of #dolphins. A mother humpback and her small calf paid us a visit too.
Just after noon found us about 4 miles north of Santa Cruz Island and crafty ol’ deck hand (and 2nd Captain) Eric dialed us in on a behemoth blue whale that was easily 80 or 85 feet long. At this point the wispy patches of fog that we found closer to the mainland had burned off to a bright sunny sky and the water was clear enough to make the blue of the blue whale pop. This whale featured 12 minute down times and long surface intervals spent circling around, as so many of its species seem to do. This was a fantastic sighting. Apologies to our friend Keith from the UK.
Onward to the west end of Santa Cruz Island and Captain Dave’s A+ tour of the sea cliffs and grottos. Of course, the Condor Express staple, a visit into the world-famous Painted Cave, was enjoyed by all.
On the way home we found another hot patch with at least 4 more humpback whales and another 1,200 or so common dolphins.  Website
7/10/15 - 17 Humpbacks & Lunge-Feeding near Santa Rosa Island
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Seventeen humpback whales and at least 2,000 long-beaked common dolphins were closely watched on our excursion. There were two distinct zones of activity in the Santa Barbara Channel today, the first was about 7 miles south of Santa Barbara Harbor and stretched far and wide. At least a dozen #whales were spread across this zone and lots of #dolphin activity was observed. Two of the humpback whales consisted of a mother whale with her calf…always a special sight to see.
After a nice long session in the first zone, we left and toured the west end of Santa Cruz Island including a penetration of the world-famous Painted Cave. By this time skies were blue and the sun was bright. Seas were calm and a very light breeze wafted across the Channel. We left the Cave and ran to the west along the oft-mentioned “Ledge” where the deepest regions of the Santa Barbara Basin rise abruptly to the northern shelf bordering the Channel Islands. It has traditionally been a productive region in the Summer.
Around 1250 pm we were a few miles north of Santa Rosa Island and found a very vigorous feeding frenzy where seabirds, mostly gulls, were circling and diving on a very concentrated ball of northern anchovies. It was one of the most dramatic small hot spots I can remember. A few minutes later Captain Dave had moved us further west and several spouts were seen as we entered this second distinct zone of activity.
This second zone was fueled by a small but concentrated school of anchovies and dolphins, sea lions, gulls and at least 5 humpback whales were all there to enjoy this afternoon dining experience. We were just north of Carrington Point and soon all five whales took turns passing through the bait ball. Among the 5 humpbacks we saw yet another mother whale and her calf. Several very dramatic vertical and horizontal surface lunge feeding episodes were observed. Wow.  Website
7/8/15 - 17 humpbacks, including a mother with calf....and lots more!
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Not too far out from Santa Barbara Harbor ol’ eagle-eyes Augie spotted a nice ocean sunfish (Mola mola) which we circled around once before it flipped its dorsal and caudal fins and boogied on. A few minutes later we were about a mile west of Habitat and the mammals sightings got fired-up with one nice Minke whale, 4 humpback whales (more in the distance) and at least 500 long-beaked common dolphins. (We truly saw dolphins all day and everywhere we roamed).
After a nice session with all the cetaceans described above we moved along the southern edge of The Flats because we found a lot of life in there yesterday. It continued to be productive with sightings of another Minke whale, and easily 500 more dolphins. On our return trip through this same area, however, we found 4 more humpback whales along with the dolphins.
Our ultimate goal was to go to the far eastern Santa Barbara Channel about 5 miles south of the City of Ventura and scout the cetacean situation. Here we had the good fortune to find that the light breeze that blew to the west was completely absent and the water was mirror glass. 6 more humpback whales, including a mother with her calf (traveling with a third whale, a large female), and another 200 dolphins were watched in this area.
Around 1:00pm we headed further south to scout the commercial shipping lanes off of the eastern end of Santa Cruz Island and located 3 more humpback whales off Cavern Point but in the lanes. The humpbacks we saw on the way home were described above.  Website
7/6/15 - Rope, Scarlet and throngs of other humpback whale put on a show
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Captain Eric found a mother lode of humpback whales and long-beaked common dolphins today south of Charlie. Whales were coming around the Condor Express in groups of 2 and 3. We ended up closely watching 15 #whales, but there was another dozen or more all around the feeding hot spot. Most of the anchovy schools were sub-surface, however a few instances of surface lunge-feeding was observed which took the form of forward “chomping,” rather than perpendicular lunges. At least 2000 #dolphins were all around, all day.
Among the whales watched we found two old pals, Scarlet and Rope. Scarlet was on her own but did come by to say hi to her fan club. Rope is still with the friend she had last week when she “mugged” us. Rope and pal went through their repertoire including head-standing, tail throwing, rolling around and, once again, mugging the Condor Express. What a fantastic day we had on a calm ocean with little or no wind. There was a thin marine layer but visibilities were good enough to see Santa Cruz Island 24 miles away.  Website
6/30/15 - So Many Humpback Whales, So Little Time!
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A trip out to see the blue whales was not to be as seas in the western zone of the Santa Barbara Channel were a bit rough. This zone travels with the prevailing winds to the front side of Santa Cruz Island where the giant blues have been feeding recently. However, nobody was particularly sad about not pounding across to blue-land given the fact that we closely watched 16 humpback whales with at least that many more all around us spouting freely into the breeze. Our side of the Channel had medium chop in the morning and a light breeze. Both of these factors subsided as the day progressed. It was sunny and clear all day.
Our first encounter of the cetacean kind was about 8 miles south of Santa Barbara where our first cluster of 8 humpbacks were finding their food out of sight below the surface. They fluked-up once in a while, and several made close visits to the Condor Express. But the star of this first hot spot was a small #whale, probably a calf, that breached several times, did a few pectoral fin slaps, and really put on a wild show with its tail throwing. Mom was not around. Was junior calling her with these loud demonstrations? At least 1,000 long-beaked common dolphins were spread around this first region too.
On our way to the west chasing more hot spots and spouts, Captain Dave generously stopped on a large ocean sunfish (Mola mola) that was drifting along the port side within an arm’s length. These fish are fascinating and we got a wonderful close look at it.
Moving further to a spot that stretch from More Mesa up past the University of California campus, and out about 5 miles, we found another hot spot and another 8 or so humpbacks. This region was more dense with #dolphins, perhaps 2,500 chased bait fish with the whales here. As with the earlier spot, many more spouts were all around that we did not have time to pursue.  Website
6/26/15 - Get on Board!! July 4th Fireworks Cruise on the Condor Express
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Get on board and enjoy Santa Barbara’s 4th of July fireworks show from the decks of the Condor Express. There’s nothing like the view from the Santa Barbara Channel. It’s the best seat in the house! Cruise includes light appetizers and no host full bar.
Presented by ... Condor Express - SEA Landing
Venue ... Condor Express - SEA Landing  Website
6/24/15 - A Great Day in Humpbackland - Rope was there
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We worked the belly of the beast – the mid Santa Barbara Channel. Here we found widely distributed hot spots with humpback whales feeding deep and on the surface. Long-beaked common dolphins were everywhere including two massive megapods. Some hot spots had seabirds among which were sooty shearwaters, western gulls, Heermann’s gulls, and brown pelicans. Notably absent were the elegant terns today.
The conditions were good. There was bright sun all day and a the sea surface ranged from light to moderate chop from the west. Winds started off calm as you might expect, then started to blow, then alternately blew and backed off for a couple of hours. It was a great day for watching cetaceans.
Among the 8 humpback #whales closely watched today (with more spouts in the distance) was our long-standing friend “Rope.” She was with another, even larger, female and moved around the area starting near Habitat and ending about 5 miles south of Santa Barbara Harbor. Rope did that “chomping” at the surface behavior I’ve described in earlier reports, and I think I caught one or two of them with my camera. She still sends up that unique “fire hose” stream from her spouts once every so often.
Mostly the anchovies were below the surface, but we did get into one or two hot spots with bait balls that were up. Pelicans were crashing on these spots and the other birds clambered to gobble the scraps. The humpback whale reaction to these surface bait balls was mystifying. Once or twice there were distant vertical lunges, and, more frequently, that surface “skimming” or “chomping.” But none of the whales hit the bulls eye in terms of lunge feeding in the most dense central regions of the anchovy mass. They completely by-passed the dense spots and swam off to find new areas. Perhaps, as Sally suggested, the whales are stuffing themselves on schools of fish below the surface and thus are not so interested in the surface bait balls. The #dolphins had no such problems and attacked the core of the school with gusto.  Website
6/22/15 - Opera Cruise on the Condor Express -- July 17
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Enjoy a truly romantic evening cruising out along the beautiful Santa Barbara shoreline aboard the Condor Express .... with operatic love songs from tenor Tyler Thompson, soprano Deborah Bertling and pianist Kacey Link. The first ever Opera Cruise departs from the Sea Landing Dock in Santa Barbara Harbor at 6 PM, returning at 8 PM. The $40 boarding pass includes complimentary appetizers and a no host bar. Reservations may be made by calling Sea Landing (805) 963-3564.
For more info on this and other special events go to condorexpress.com/specialty-cruises.
Presented by ... Condor Express - SEA Landing
Venue ... Condor Express- SEA Landing  Website
6/21/15 - The Summer Humpback Whales are Here!
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Captain Dave ran into the middle of the Santa Barbara Channel and found a “mother lode” of at least 20 giant humpback whales and several thousand long-beaked common dolphins spread over the zone between Platforms Charlie and Habitat. It was a nice day, the sun was out and the breezes were light to medium. A moderate chop from winds in the western gently rocked and rolled us.
Among the details of interest we found 2 mother-calf humpback pairs. One of the pairs was noticeably barnacle-encrusted and very active. The calf breached, there was some pectoral fin slapping, and the pair made several close approaches to the boat and their fan club.
The humpback whale population in the Channel has been off the charts all week and there is no immediate end in sight. We all know and love these beasts due to their unpredictable nature, which means two things: first, if you have not made your reservation to get out her for high quality summer whale watching, now is the time.  Website
6/12/15 - Pelagic Red Crabs and a Waterfall at Painted Cave
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Captain Dave and the crew of the Condor Express found 4 humpback #whales in the Santa Barbara Channel with at least 200 long-beaked common #dolphins, then a great trip to the world famous Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island. The first and last whale sighting was in the same general region south of the oil rigs where Rope and a larger “buddy” humpback were feeding. After the first sighting with good looks Captain Dave headed for the Painted Cave. Two interesting and unique things about today’s Cave penetration: there were pelagic red crabs in the water, and the little waterfall that runs down the fault line was in action (albeit a trickle). On the way home we ran across the same area with Rope and her pal, and 2 other whales had joined them. The spot had gotten hot with lots of sea birds, especially sooty shearwaters, and the whales did some vertical lunge feeding to thrill their fans on the Condor. Although the Channel was covered with a thin overcast, the Island was sunny and bright.  Website
6/9/15 - 2 Late Gray Whales, 2 Humpbacks, and Thousands of Dolphins
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Captain Dave and the crew of the Condor Express took us across the Santa Barbara Channel to the eastern end of Santa Cruz Island, and back again. It was overcast, foggy in spots, but very calm and mostly glassy. A very few sunny spots, or what they call in Alaska “sucker holes” were encountered, although it was nice at the island and along the beach.
Our first sighting included about 100 long-beaked common dolphins which were seen about 3 miles south of Santa Barbara Harbor. We watched for a while and then kept on our southeasterly course.
The second sighting was more robust and included another 100 #dolphins along with many hundred sooty shearwaters. Two long-winded humpback whales came up to breathe once in a while, but the looks were very good. We were about 1 mile south of Hillhouse at the time.
Next up was a massive megapod of long-beaked common dolphins, easily 1,000 animals, about 2 miles east of Habitat. The great abundance of these little cetaceans was marvelous to watch, and they rode the bow, surfed our wake, and did all their tricks.
We continued our southeasterly path and Dave provided good narration as we toured the seacliffs and coves along the eastern end of Santa Cruz Island from Scorpion Anchorage to Pedro Point. Back on track, we headed north to look for more cetaceans. About 30 minutes off the island and as we started up the underwater slope that is attached to the mainland, in 50 fathoms of water, another even more active megapod of at least 1,000 additional #dolphins was encountered. This was an active feeding pod and they were moving at high speeds chasing the anchovy school. Many seabirds were on this hot spot and that included shearwaters, pelicans and a few gulls.
Our final major sighting of the trip was about 1 mile south of Hillhouse and included 2 adult northbound gray whales, along with 50 or so #dolphins. The #whales traveled and dove side by side. There was not much difference between them in terms of size, so we ruled out the mother-calf situation which one might expect to see with these late migrators.  Website
6/4/15 - 9 humpback whales and nearly 3000 dolphins plus turquoise water
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Milky turquoise water color pervaded the nearshore regions and returned to a typical oceanic blue out 4 miles or so. Even so, there were occasional streaks of this discoloration. I suspect it is some species of phytoplankton that is blooming and will attempt to grab a plankton sample tomorrow if all conditions are good. Water temperatures offshore are 62.7F, and today was overcast (again) with only a very slight bump from the west. Little spots of blue sky opened up temporarily here and there as the day progressed.
Just past Platform Alpha we found one slow moving humpback whale and about 50 long-beaked common dolphins. This assemblage was moving west and the whale was all business…no deep dives, no tail flukes, one spout at a time, and 4 or 5 minutes down. We watched for 20 minutes and then moved out towards Platform Habitat. Along the route to Habitat there was another pod of long-beaked common #dolphins numbering around 100.
1 mile north of Habitat we located a moveable feast. There were 6 humpback #whales in this spot, and around 2,500 common dolphins. The whales made long dives and had short surface times, but there were so many of them on all sides of the Condor Express, that there was plenty of entertainment/education going on. Among the recognizable humpback contingent we saw Scarlet again, and a mother whale with her calf. We also noted a single breach about ½- mile east of our hot spot.
The hot spot was dynamic and whales came and went while the whole amorphous blob moved west then north then east again. At least 2 more “new” humpbacks joined the club. During this phase of the excursion about 100 of the dolphins kicked it into high gear and ran west in a “stampede.” By this time is was getting more sunny and a light breeze was starting up from the west.
The seabird species composition was different today. There were nearly zero brown pelicans even though the elegant terns were crashing on the dolphins and sooty shearwaters were there diving. A few gulls also looked around for easy pickin’s. The magnitude of all this life, all around the boat, all day, was amazing.  Website
6/2/15 - 4 Humpbacks and lots of dolphins
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Before the trip left the docks, I noticed that every boat at Sea Landing had a serious bird perched on top. The Condor Express had a juvenile brown pelican sitting on the windscreen of the flying bridge. The Coral Sea had a black-crowned night heron, and the private yacht next to us had a great blue heron on top of its wheelhouse. Crazy. We left Santa Barbara around 10 am and headed for the oil rigs. About 2 miles north of Hillhouse deckhand Eric spotted some activity. This activity turned out to be a small hot spot with common dolphins (about 1,000) and humpback whales (three). The spot was not too birdy. After about an hour Captain Dave decided to head for the islands while the conditions were still good. Although the low cloud layer was medium thick and the ocean surface was mostly glassy, there was still a wee bit of chill in the air due to the water temperature being 57F I suspect.
Not too far beyond the rigs on our course to the islands we spotted a lone and very shy Minke #whale. Around 1 pm we penetrated the world famous Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island and found the cave alive with pigeon guillemots flying back and forth. We capped off our island tour with a run along the northwest sea cliffs and little coves where we spotted a pair of peregrine falcons perched way up on top of a cliff.
On the way home another solo humpback was spotted and it was not an easy whale to watch. It had long down times and only spouted once when on the surface. It maintained a straight course to the east and must have been in “travel mode” if such a mode exists.
Finally, about 2 miles south of the harbor we went through an area with a whole bunch of purple sailors (Velella velella).  Website
5/29/15 - 3 Humpbacks and 1,000+ dolphins
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We departed Santa Barbara at 800am this morning and Captain Dave ran southeast in the direction of the Anacapa Arch. Around 915am we located our humpback whales of the day close to Platform Gilda. There were three #whales in the area, two large and one small. About 500 long-beaked common dolphins were also on the scene along with a moderate amount of sooty shearwaters and brown pelicans. Fifteen minutes later we drove past two interacting common murres sitting on the glassy ocean surface.
From this region we set a track for The Ledge where we had #dolphins, humpbacks and blue whales yesterday. At 1000am we were around 3 miles north of Pedro Point and located a second pod of 500 or so common dolphins. Although we attempted to push west to yesterday’s location, the oncoming swells made the ride a slight bit uncomfortable so we changed course and headed more to the north and the Harbor.  Website
5/25/15 - Warm air, Calm seas, Humpback Calf goes Berserk
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Captain Eric and the crew took the Condor Express away from the dock in Santa Barbara and headed east to where the hot spots have been forming for the past week. It was another gorgeous Spring day in the Santa Barbara Channel with only a very light breeze and an almost glassy surface all day. More good news…the water has cleared up and is getting blue again after a 2-week plankton bloom. It was one of those fine days on the water.
The Condor Express started up running southeast along the inside passage, between the rig line and the beach. About a mile north of Hillhouse we had our first long-beaked common dolphins with about 500 in a scattered herd…nice to see in the blue water. Continuing on this track, and about a mile north of Henry, we intersected the path of 3 humpback whales. One of these was Scarlet, our friend. It was not too long until a small hot spot formed-up and Scarlet did a vertical lunge at the surface to prove what a glutton she really is.
Moving on, our next stop was to watch two massive beast humpback whales about 5 miles east of Hogan. One turned out to be our pal Rope, and Rope threw her tail once just to check if we were paying attention. We were. A medium sized ocean sunfish (Mola mola) was patrolling the area too.
Our final, and longest, viewing stop of the day was on a moveable hot spot that was approximately 6 miles southeast of Hogan. Here we watched a 6 more humpback whales (with lots of other spouts all around within visual range), and a mother #whale and her calf were in the mix. There was lots of activity out of this batch of whales including several instances of surface lunge feeding. A couple of these feeding events included three whales vertically lunging simultaneously like you see on Wild Kingdom. This hot spot included an additional 2,500 or so long-beaked common dolphins. The aforementioned calf got a wild hair on its chin and started repeatedly slapping its tail on the water. Our veteran naturalist, Gary, counted 68 slaps, which came in batches of 10 or 12 at a time followed by the calf rolling right-side-up and issuing a trumpet vocalization. As a side note, both mom and the kid had white pectoral fins so it was easy to keep track of them in the clearing water.  Website



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