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)
Website   |   Our Calendar



Year Founded:

   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,  

    During normal business hours

Location Type:

Languages Spoken:

    Outdoor Location

Handicapped Accessible?

    Some restrictions

Cell Phones?

Cameras/Recording Equip.?

Pets Allowed?

Gift Certificates?
    Available for Sale

Classes Offered?

 Recent News & Buzz!!
7/22/16 - A great day in the northern Channel ...
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
A great day in the northern Channel with tons of humpback whales and long-beaked common dolphins. Captain Eric and his crew had a wonderful trip and there was never anything but a few minutes total in which dolphins were not all around the Condor Express. Over 2,500 dolphins and 4 humpback whales were watched closely, with more whales in the area.
Things got rolling a few miles out from Santa Barbara when the first batch of a few hundred dolphins were found chasing northern anchovies around. The bait fish were in little groups (not huge bait balls) and thus the dolphins kept busy moving around on the hunt.
West of the dolphins we started to find humpback whales. One was particularly friendly and did circles around the boat. Wow! Members of the humpback fan club had some rare selfie moments for sure.
Moving further west until we were about 6 miles of Campus Point, another couple of actively feeding humpback whales were located, again common dolphins were all around the zone.
It was a bright and sunny day that started off without much of a breeze. The wind picked up in the afternoon so we ran east at that time and rode downhill.  Website
7/20/16 - July 20, 2016 – Santa Barbara
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
California Whale Watching – you can never get enough! It was windy from the get-go today, but it was a nice warm wind and there was not much swell so the ride was a good one. The further we pushed offshore to the southwest, the stronger the winds were. But as luck would have it, we encountered a honey hole full of whales and dolphins and had an epic adventure. Totals for the day included 2,300+ common dolphins, 1 Minke whale (more in the area), 6 humpback whales (many more spouts in the zone), and several hundred California sea lions organized into a few nice mobs. The bird of the trip was the elegant tern and was found on each of the many hot spots we visited.
Speaking of hot spots, the first one was about 1 mile southeast of Santa Barbara and was located immediately by our deckhand, Ojos de águila Auggie. There was a confluence of brown pelicans, sooty shearwaters, gulls, and a large number of very vocal elegant terns. All the birds were flying, crashing and diving on a medium-sized northern anchovy bait ball while common dolphins, and California sea lions were actively feeding. At one point the school sought protection near the starboard pontoon with little luck. Almost an hour later and several miles to the west, another hot spot full of birds, dolphins, sea lions and about 4 Minke whales was located. We closely watched only one of the Minke whales, as it turned out to be a very cooperative whale. After a while the Minke got ahead of the Condor Express and lunge-fed on the surface.
Noon found us about 10 miles offshore and coming into the Land of the Humpback Whales. Spouts began to come into view all around. We settled-in and closely watched several humpbacks. One, nicknamed “Speckles,” had been seen yesterday and several times in the past. It is a juvenile-sized whale and its skin is full of little white spots. Speckles engaged in several tail-throwing episodes today, mostly a quarter-mile or so away. This hot spot expanded and moved around and we got better and better looks at the abundant feeding animals.  Website
7/16/16 - Blue Whale etc. etc.
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
Seas were calm and the cetaceans were abundant on this wonderful day in the Santa Barbara Channel. Skies had a thin stratus layer with sunny “sucker holes” until mid-afternoon when the clouds were vanquished once and for all. Animal totals for the trip included 7 humpback whales (many more in the distance), 1 giant blue whale (several other tall spouts in the area), 1,200 or more long-beaked common dolphins, and lots of California sea lions. The sea bird of the day was a nice, light-colored northern fulmar that let the Condor Express pass by without flushing. Here’s how things happened today:
Around 1045 am a group of around 100 or so dolphins found us and we had great sightings for a few minutes, with the promise of more dolphins in the distance. Fifteen minutes later, attracted by a much large assemblage of active dolphins, we found a hot spot zone rich with feeding animals including many humpback whales. As we came slowly and carefully into the zone, I saw tail flukes in all directions and my immediate rough tally was 12 humpback whales, but Captain Dave really took his time to watch 5 of them. This strategy paid off with excellent looks and so many tail flukes that we lost count for a while.
Noon found us in the southbound Lanes where the Condor Express blogger spotted a giant blue whale and several other tall spouts in the distance, both east and west of our location. The giant appeared to be traveling west and alternated between 11 minute and 4 minute dives. It never arched or fluked-up which led the crew to hypothesize it was not diving deep. After the nice blue whale, Dave took us on nice tour of the western end of beautiful Santa Cruz Island, including a visit to the antechambers of the world-famous Painted Cave. The Cave was full of pigeon guillemots flying in and out from hunting expeditions. West of The Cave, there are many dozens of smaller caves, one of which contained the carcass of a dead humpback whale. This may be the carcass that Captain Eric reported seeing last week. We did not stop or dwell on this particular small cave.
On the way home another hot spot had developed about 8 miles out from Santa Barbara Harbor. Here we found several hundred very active dolphins which were making high speed runs to the east, then to the west, in small groups that almost collided when east met west. Two large humpback whales were also feeding here.  Website
7/13/16 - Opera Cruise on the Condor Express ... July 16
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
World renowned Tenor, Eduardo Villa, will perform his favorite arias, including Nessun Dorma, La Dona e mobile, Vesti La Giubba, and other great arias, as well as several Broadway hits. A rare opportunity to experience opera up-close and personal. ... Presented by: Condor Express - SEA Landing ... Venue: Condor Express- SEA Landing  Website
7/9/16 - Fin whales and more
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
Captain Dave reports clear sailing conditions and another epic day full of cetacean sightings in the Santa Barbara Channel. Totals for the day: humpback whale = 1, blue whales = 6 (more all around), fin whales = 2, and long-beaked common dolphins = 500. Here is the story…
The first hot zone was a few miles off the coast and consisted of the humpback whale and the common dolphins. Good looks were had by all.
Moving southwest, Dave ran into the second hot spot south of The Lanes and he found all the blue whales and fin whales at this location. How marvelous to see all these true giants of the animal kingdom within a few miles of ocean.
Our final destination was a tour of the western end of Santa Cruz Island with Dave’s interpretation of the geology, natural history, and indigenous tribes. This tour included a visit to the world-famous Painted Cave.  Website
7/7/16 - Scarlet the humpback and Carmello
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
Captain Dave and his crew had another fantastic day full of cetacean sightings in the Santa Barbara Channel. Seas were calm and there was a thin stratus layer up above. Total species sightings included: humpback whales = 12 (more in the area), blue whales = 4 more in the area, fin whale = 1, and long-beaked common dolphins = approximately 2,000. Here is how the trip progressed:
About 10 miles south of Santa Barbara there were several humpback whales and several hundred dolphins working an area of (probable) sub-surface food. . One of the whales was our old pal Scarlet the humpback, so-named due to a unique propeller scar across her back with large spherical nodules of scar tissue. This caused good surface intervals and numerous tail flukes to be observed. Moving ahead a few miles to The Lanes, 8 more humpback whales and at least 1,000 dolphins were found. These were also feeding sub-surface.
South of The Lanes many more humpback whales as well as 4 blue whales were busy finding lunch. One of the blue whales had a back-story. It was Carmello, the super large blue whale with two “camel humps” and a depression in between on its back. Carmello has been around for the past few weeks and is known to kick up its flukes pretty often. We first saw this whale almost exactly one year ago.
On the way home a breaching humpback was spotted and we slowed down to watch as it repeated its aerial antics several times and everyone had good looks although things happened a little bit away from the Condor Express.  Website
7/3/16 - Fantastic Cetacean Watching
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
A festive 4th of July celebratory weekend has captured Santa Barbara and loads of party cruises are running in the afternoon and evening after the usual Condor Express morning whale watch returns to the dock. This means a lot of extra effort and long hours for the crew and Captain Eric. Nonetheless, he reports a fantastic cetacean watching day again today. Wow!
Out on the 50-fathom curve this morning the sightings of scattered groups of long-beaked common dolphins and a few humpback whales began and continued as “stepping stones” across the Santa Barbara Channel to a more concentrated hot spot near The Lanes. Sea conditions were fabulous and skies were sunny and warm.
Out near The Lanes, as we saw yesterday, there were an abundance of humpback whales concentrated on feeding. Eric reported closely watching 10, but quickly reported as many as 25 in the immediate area. Dolphins were more concentrated here too, and 100 short-beaked common dolphins were also seen in the mix. Before long a giant blue whale, the one we’ve been seeing with the shaved dorsal fin and notched tail flukes, popped up and stayed around the Condor Express giving great looks. This whale is a consistent tail-fluker and proved that to be true again today.  Website
7/1/16 - Tons of humpback whales
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
Fifteen humpback whales (more in the distance) plus 2,000 or more long-beaked common dolphins made for a busy day of cetacean enjoyment on the Condor Express. All of the action was within 7 or 8 miles of Santa Barbara and ranged from the Harbor entrance to the west. Highlights of the day included several breaching humpback whales, a few distant surface lunges, and an array of tail lobs and tail throws, some very near the boat. The sun was out and the fog we’ve battled all week was blown away by a moderate sea breeze.  Website
6/30/16 - July 4th Fireworks Cruise on the Condor Express
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
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
6/30/16 - Anchovy Masses
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
The first leg of the voyage of the Condor Express and its daily travels around the beautiful Santa Barbara Channel features overcast stratus. A little further out, and extending beyond The Lanes, Captain Dave’s stress level rose a few notches as the aforementioned stratus hit the deck and we found ourselves looking for whales by sound and smell again. Luckily Third Captain and deckhand, Tasha, kept Dave’s mood on a positive note by feeding him organic and antioxidant breakfast items and thoughts of whales yet to be seen. Finally, only a couple of miles north of Santa Cruz Island, the warmth of the sun was felt and the f-stops and color saturation of the photographs increased as the fog started to go away. There were small dense patches of fog here and thereafter, but by then we were in the midst. Here is the story:
After veering off one large Mola mola close to shore, successfully saving its big round life, Tasha spotted a second large sunfish that was not so close to the boat as to present a problem for itself. Dave slowed down and we all had great looks at this beast of a fish in The Lanes before continuing south.
About 35 minutes later we were only a few miles north of Santa Cruz Island when, as you already know, the fog burned off and Tasha began calling out the numerous humpback whale spouts nearby on the edge of the stratus. Soon we were in the midst of a huge oceanic hot spot based on a massive surface aggregation of northern anchovies. Predatory birds were to be seen in masses over this spot, and at least 1,000 long-beaked common dolphins plus numerous California sea lions were all on the scene feeding. We watched five adult and very voracious humpback whales (more in the distance all around) as the surface lunge-fed on the little silvery fishes. Every lunge followed a similar pattern, first there would be a massive explosion of anchovies leaping out of the water in a tight ball. Next one or more humpback whales would appear above the surface and engulf a huge swath of the bait ball biomass (anchovy masses). Finally, the scavenging gulls, brown pelicans and sooty shearwaters would converge on the lunge water and gobble down the whale’s by-catch.
This went on for about a hour and a half until it was time to head back to the harbor. It was one of the most exciting spectacles of nature one could hope to see this time of year in the Channel. Fantastic!  Website
6/28/16 - What a summer whale season it has been !
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
There was plenty of stratus at the start of the excursion into the Santa Barbara Channel today, and some of it was fog on the deck. Luckily, things began to break into some good, clear sunny patches as we came up on our first marine mammals out near The Lanes. The ocean surface was very glassy all day and there was not a trace of wind. A small, long-period southwest was hardly even felt by most whale watchers. Needless to say, there were epic sightings as “the fog monster” was vanquished. What a whale season it has been !
Around 1120 am Captain Eric and the Condor Express reached The Lanes. It took longer than usual due to the fog. But it was worth the wait as we immediately located our first 4 (of 13 total) humpback whales and our first 1,000 (of 3,000 total) long-beaked common dolphins. This first group of dolphins was at a distance from the boat and only a few brave animals came over to greet us. The whales were very nice to watch and had short down times. Eric then continued his southerly course heading. It should be noted that the US Coast Guard was actively broadcasting warnings to mariners to slow down and keep an eye out for whales in the Santa Barbara Channel. One huge container shipping vessel we saw had slowed to only 9 knots. Bravo Coast Guard ! Bravo big ship captains.
At noon a medium-sized, but very friendly, ocean sunfish or Mola mola slowly swam along our port side and looked up at its fan club. It was a very curious fish that seemed to be doing some “people watching.” Excellent! We continued south.
Shortly after our Mola encounter a large, multi-layered and wide spread hot spot zone was found. This included several thousand dolphins, loads of California sea lions, at least 8 humpback whales (more in the distance) and thousands of sea birds especially sooty shearwaters and brown pelicans. We were south of The Lanes and it was a NatGeo or Marlin Perkins kind of sighting. We continued south.
South of The Lanes and about 5 miles north of Santa Cruz Island we entered our second oceanic hot spot of the day. This was a region with numerous giant blue whales. We actively watched 6 blue whales, but there were many tall spouts both east and west of our location. Several of the beasts tale-fluked to the delight of the fans. On the way home another single humpback whale swam by.  Website
6/27/16 - Cetaceans found by sound and smell.
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
Captain Eric and his fearless whale finder Auggie were put to the test today in the Santa Barbara Channel. The stratus was down on the deck all day with visibilities less than 100 feet at times. The cetaceans were found by sound and smell (and a lot of clean living) A total of 5 humpback whales were watched and great looks were had fairly close to the Condor Express.
On the way across the Channel and into The Lanes two moderately large herds of long-beaked common dolphins were encountered. They, of course, found us, we didn’t find them. The thick stratus seems to reduce glare and keep the surface glassy, and this makes for ideal dolphin watching conditions. There were about 800 total dolphins today.
Later, a single humpback was found, on our way home. It threw its tail several times fairly close to the boat and made a lot of noise thumping its tail on the water and issuing trumpet blasts. Sometimes the fog can be quite magical.  Website
6/26/16 - Get your tickets for the Opera Cruise -- July 16, with Eduardo Villa
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
World renowned Tenor, Eduardo Villa, will perform his favorite arias, including Nessun Dorma, La Dona e mobile, Vesti La Giubba, and other great arias, as well as several Broadway hits. A rare opportunity to experience opera up-close and personal. ... Presented by: Condor Express - SEA Landing ... Venue: Condor Express- SEA Landing  Website
6/24/16 - Save the Date! July 4th Fireworks Cruise on the Condor Express
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
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
6/20/16 - Mola mola and More
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
Our exit from Santa Barbara Harbor this morning was greeted by moderate seas and 15 knot winds, both of which came in much earlier than forecast. The ride out to the southwest was slowed down to bolster the comfort level, and no significant sightings took place for the first hour. I should mention that it was bright and sunny all day.
The humpback whales we watched yesterday had moved to the southwest. Thing were looking pretty empty, windy and choppy until the staff photographer saw a breach about a mile away. This would be the first of 7 humpback whales we closely watched. Numerous other humpbacks were around the zone, but would have required pounding into the oncoming seas at the risk of passenger satisfaction, so Captain Dave settled-in and watched the whales that were within our area.
After running to the southwest, it was nice to find a few whales that were coming down-swell to the east. Multitudes of long-beaked common dolphins were creating localized feeding hot spots with seabird activity and all this did attract the whales. By the way, at least 1,600 dolphins were around the boat as the totals for the day were tallied. On one occasion we were watching dolphins and a nice medium-sized ocean sunfish (Mola mola) swam alongside the boat so we had good looks.
Our sightings ended about 5 miles southwest of Habitat when it was time to slowly make our way back home having done a nice survey of cetaceans in the northern half of the Santa Barbara Channel. The good news is the winds and seas are forecast to calm down tomorrow and Wednesday.  Website
6/17/16 - Tons of Cetaceans!
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
We ran a private whale excursion for a short time today and the following cetaceans were watched closely: Humpback whales = 6 (more in the area) ... Blue whales = 4 (more in the area) ... Common dolphins = 2,000. You never know what cetaceans Mother Nature has in store.
The great whales have rediscovered Santa Barbara. Over 27 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises come to our channel each year since 1990 to feed, mate and frolic... which makes Santa Barbara one of the best year 'round whale watching areas in the world. Our trips depart daily at 10am, returning at 2:30pm on the incredible CONDOR Express, one of the finest whale watching vessels in the world.  Website
6/9/16 - More cetaceans than you could imagine.
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
The Condor Express excursion began as Captain Dave ran west to a point several miles off UCSB were he encountered around 1,000 long-beaked common dolphins in groups spread out and feeding. Many sea birds joined the banquet, and soon there were around 5 humpback whales in the zone too. One of them breached close to the boat. We also got a nice, yet fleeting, glimpse of a Minke whale here too.
Next Dave tried to head out to the Lanes and search for blue whales, but was stalled out when a second, but much larger, ocean hot spot was located. Northern anchovy schools were all over but their population size was diminishing before our very eyes. We close watched an additional 15 humpback whales with many more in the area, and another 1,000 or so common dolphins were here too. Birds were crashing and diving and squawking all around. Dave held the Condor Express in a stationary holding pattern as the wildlife circulated around including several surface lunge feeding episodes.
Later, upon reaching the Lanes, 3 blue whales, 1 fin whale, and another single humpback whale made for another great sighting location. One blue whale was exceedingly friendly and came towards the boat to look around a few times. Perhaps the most exciting feature of the blue whale sighting was the interaction between 6 Dall’s porpoise that actually “rode the bow” of the blue whales and followed them around for quite a while. Later, this same group of Dall’s found the Condor Express and rode our bow too as we were heading home.
In addition to the Dall’s porpoise the trip home included a very big ocean sunfish (Mola mola), more common dolphins and another relatively shy humpback whale.  Website
6/8/16 - Another blue whale mega experience
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
Captain Dave started the day with a large area of scattered long-beaked common dolphins. About 300 of these little cetaceans were not far offshore from Santa Barbara Harbor. Nearby the first of three humpback whales was moving fast and staying down a long time. Our next stop was in The Lanes.
One blue whale quickly became two, then five with many more in the area. These giants were feeding/searching at depth and coming up to swim circles and breathe regularly. A couple individuals were regular tail flukers and this is always fun to see. A second humpback was searching around in the same area.
Dave ran over to the western end of Santa Cruz Island for his tour of the sea cliffs and a ride inside the world-famous Painted Cave. The ocean surface was like everywhere else in the Channel today: flat and glassy. One difference however was that the Cave was full of pelagic red crabs, not purple sailor jellies. Upon leaving the Cave and Island, a third humpback whale was watched and two large fin whales joined the sighting. The humpback, not to out done by the huge body size of the fins, breached very close to the boat three times in a row. That put the final punctuation on the day, and this report.  Website
6/6/16 - An Epic Day
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
Captain Eric and his crew ran an excellent adventure out to the Ledge where the Condor Express (CX) whale fans were treated to something new: no fog ! Consequently the whale sightings were spectacular and we are hoping for continued great conditions as the new week continues. The total sightings for today included 400 long-beaked common dolphins, 4 humpback whales, 2 fin whales, and 12 blue whales closely watched with many more spouts all around the boat.
Things got off to a quick start as we approached the 50 fm curve on a line to the West End. Here we located a spread-out and busy group of common dolphins that were engaged in chasing down northern anchovies. They did take time out to visit the boat and say hi to their peeps. There was also one migrating humpback, heading east, mixed in with the little cetaceans.
Continuing our trek to the south and into The Lanes, another humpback (long down times) was encountered so we moved closer to the Cave where at least 7 blue whales were encountered. Several of these blue whales approached the CX, swam under the boat, and logged right next to us so that we had to look straight down to whale watch instead of laterally. Fluking-up by the blues was also very abundant today…it seemed like every other dive.
Heading home two very active humpback whales were easy to locate due to all the splashing around. One had a peculiar behavior during which it swam along the surface at a very high speed while slapping one of its gigantic pectoral fins against its own body. Huh? The second humpback at first appeared to be logging but started moving slowly forward, then picked up steam and breached within 50 yards of the CX several times. It then proceeded to slap its pects, roll around, and generally make a fuss. Three more blue whales surfaced and joined the mix.
A short time later we watched one fin whale slowly move west then circle around a bit with 2 minute dives. A second fin whale surfaced a ways in front of the CX bow, approached the boat, dove under us and hung motionless beneath our two hulls. At one point it let out a huge bubble blast so the air came up all around us. Wow, what an epic day!  Website
6/3/16 - Spring/Summer Islands Cruise -- Whale Watching on the Condor Express
> VIEW   
> HIDE  
The great whales have rediscovered Santa Barbara. Over 27 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises come to our channel each year since 1990 to feed, mate and frolic... which makes Santa Barbara one of the best year 'round whale watching areas in the world. Our trips depart daily at 10am, returning at 2:30pm on the incredible CONDOR Express, one of the finest whale watching vessels in the world. ... Presented by: Condor Express - SEA Landing ... Venue: Condor Express - SEA Landing  Website

Powered by ... The Chamber & Business Network  ... and ...