Aye matey’s, raise the anchor, clean the decks, we’re going whaling!
Oh well, whale sightseeing then.
A short drive from Santa Maria to Santa Barbara brought us to the Condor Express, a twin engine hydro propelled catamaran operated entirely for the whale watching business. It a 75 foot long vessel equipped for the scientific and touristic spotting of all kinds of whales visiting the channel between the California Channel Islands and the mainland.
Usually, the boat sees Humpback whales, the occasional Blue whale, Sperm whales, Killer whales, Grey whales, all kinds of dolphins, California sea lions, and regular seals. And a lot of birds as well; of which Pelican are the most interesting for us.
We set out to sail the Channel around 10, and with a warning from Tue captain that we were likely not going towards the Islands, the chances of running into a Blue whale were really slim. We were far more likely to see Humpback whales, so we’d have to settle for those.
So we did. And to not only our, but also the captains amazement we ran almost immediately into a mother calf pair of Blue whales, with the calf showing an remarkable amount of interest in the boat. Remember, the boat is 75 foot long, the baby Blue whale about 35 and mom about 80 feet. That is huge!
BTW: when the captain and his crew get really excited about what you are seeing, you know you are part of something special.
We saw the calf playing with the boat, by swimming underneath it and trying to get it to play by swimming upside down alongside it! It was great!
We did not see any Humpback whales though, so that was unfortunate, but all in all the sighting of the majestic Blue whale and even a calf was just awesome! We’d do it again tomorrow if possible…