Whale watching in Santa Barbara is exceptional ten months out of the year. Learn more about whales populating the Santa Barbara Channel: Pacific Gray Whale facts, Humpback Whale facts, Blue Whale facts and Orca or Killer Whale facts.
The fewest whale sightings are reported during October and November.
From late December through early February, Pacific Gray Whales migrate south to breed in the warm Mexican waters. A large number of these southbound whales travel through the gap between Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands.
From February through May, the Pacific Gray Whales migrate northbound to their summer feeding grounds in the Alaskan seas. Their route brings them very close to shore through the Santa Barbara Channel. During the 2010 northbound migration, 544 Pacific Gray Whales were counted, including 33 juveniles.
From May through September the abundance of food (krill) in the Santa Barbara Channel attracts both Humpback and the rare Blue Whale. The Blue Whale is the largest animal ever to live on earth and an endangered species.
I was eager to see the Blue Whales, so Mike and I went Blue Whale watching in Santa Barbara on July 29, for my birthday.
We chose Condor Express for our whale watching excursion. I'd always heard good things about this vessel, and we weren't disappointed.
Boy, is it fast! We were 30 miles offshore within an hour.
This video captures what our trip was like, even though it was taken years ago. It shows just how consistently good the whale watching in Santa Barbara is.
The day we went, the whales were feeding at the far west end of the Channel. It would have been impossible to see as many whales from a sailboat or less powerful vessel in such a short time.
I highly recommend the Condor Express for whale watching in Santa Barbara.
In March 2009, Santa Barbara residents noticed a juvenile Gray Whale swimming in the harbor, very close to shore.
On March 18, one of my friends went out kayaking to look for the harbor whale. You won't believe what happens. Talk about a close encounter!
There are more than 70 different whale species and many places around the world to see them. As I discover new places to go whale watching, I'll post them here.
Whale watching in the Santa Barbara Channel is a unique opportunity to see these magnificent creatures up close. Not only do you see whales, but all types of marine wildlife in their natural habitat.
It's one of the most thrilling experiences I've ever had. Don't miss it!