Blue Whales at Santa Cruz

Captain and crew headed for Santa Cruz Island today with moderately choppy seas.  Sighting included 2 giant blue whales and 200 long-beaked common dolphins.

About 5 miles due south of Santa Barbara Harbor during the morning departure a herd of dolphins located the Condor Express.  They rode our stern, side and bow waves.  A bit of surface feeding was observed.  Captain then continued on her southerly course heading for the middle of Santa Cruz Island.

South of the southbound shipping lane, en route to Prisoner’s Harbor, a pair of giant blue whales was located.  Their very tall spouts could be seen at quite a far distance.  The giants were very cooperative and we were able to stay in their vicinity and get great looks even though things were a bit choppy.

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Vote For Captain Jack’s Tours!

It’s that time of year again!

The Santa Barbara Newspress Readers’ Choice Award ballot is out and we’re in the running for two categories! With your help we’ll be voted best wine tour company for the 6th year in a row. We appreciate your help in making this happen.

The link to the ballot is below. Please take a moment to vote for Captain Jack’s Tours and Events under these two categories:
-Social Scene-Wine Tour
Getting Places-Day Trip/Day Tour Company.

You’ll also have a chance to vote for other wonderful locally owned Santa Barbara businesses.

We appreciate your patronage here at Captain Jack’s Tours and look forward to taking you out on the wine trail soon!

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100 Cetaceans per hour!

These are the final few days of our annual northbound gray whale, coastal Santa Barbara excursions.  Starting next Monday, May 14, we begin “Island Whale and Dolphin” trips. These trips run well out into the Santa Barbara Channel and, depending on sea conditions and where wildlife is located, most often include a visit to one of our local Channel Islands.

However, with over 100 cetaceans closely watched per hour today on the coast, you might want to get on board now before the change.  Sightings today, on a single 2½ hour coastal cruse, included: 8 inshore bottlenose dolphins, 250 long-beaked common dolphins and 2 gray whales.

Captain and the crew encountered bottlenose dolphins in the kelp beds near Hendry’s Beach.  They came to visit the boat and everyone had great looks.  Soon a couple hundred common dolphins, a smaller species, came into the same kelp beds and also approached the boat.  It isn’t often that we see the beach-loving bottlenose species mixing with the more pelagic common dolphins.

After some nice looks at both species of dolphins, a mother gray whale and her young calf were found near More Mesa and we followed them to Campus Point.  This sighting started off with slow-moving whales, passing in and out of the kelp, and ended when the whales picked up considerable speed on their northbound journey to Alaskan waters.


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Whale calves playing in the kelp forest…

Captain and crew ran two trips today with great sea conditions.  The morning trip was calm and sunny. The afternoon trip was calm with a high stratus layer.  Sightings for the day included: 6 gray whales, 550 long-beaked common dolphins, and 1 California sea lion (that was important to the sightings).

The morning got started with 4 gray whales found inside the More Mesa kelp bed.  It was 2 mothers with their calves, and they were all horsing around in the seaweeds.  The two pair were followed west on their migration route up to the UCSB campus.  Off the campus about a mile a small school of dolphins located the Condor boat.

The noon trip also started inside the kelp forest, but near Hendry’s Beach.  Yet another gray whale mother and calf pair was found.  The calf spent loads of time with kelp draped over its head, spy-hopping in the kelp, and a fun interaction time with a very curious sea lion.  Near UCSB a much larger pod of dolphins, perhaps 500 or so, found the boat.



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‘SUP Boarders! This website is for you!

“Here at, we’re big fans of getting on the water and enjoying all that nature has to offer. There’s so much waiting to be explored — if only more of us could simply unplug long enough to enjoy it!

Over the years, we’ve discovered that one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors is with an inflatable paddle board. Convenient, portable, affordable, and durable — an inflatable SUP is a fun piece of gear that will reward you with years of memorable stories and adventures.”



Visit the website at  for boards, accessories, and tips!


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More dolphins and calves!

A single trip left Santa Barbara Harbor at noon under a low cloud layer.  Seas were glassy and calm.  Total sightings for the trip included 3 gray whales and 500 long-beaked common dolphins.

About 2 miles straight out from the harbor entrance the first of two herds of dolphins located the boat.  Like all the dolphins encountered today, this group was spread out and busy feeding on northern anchovies.  Upside-down dolphins were seen everywhere as they hunted their little silvery prey.  After the first group of dolphins, Captain and his crew took a turn towards the beach.  Near Hendry’s Beach, the gray whales were located.  It was a mother and her calf with a yearling or small juvenile whale.  Naturally the little calf was moving into the kelp, then back out 1/4-mile or so, then back to the kelp again…all with the older, larger whales following behind.  Near More Mesa another group of common dolphins located the boat.

Come join us for a whale watching adventure!

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Harbor Kayaking

With blue skies and warm days it’s time to kayak in Santa Barbara again! Book a kayak tour with us today and enjoy a unique way to see the harbor!

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