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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Rope ‘in’ the wind…

Three trips left the docks today with Captain and his crew and pristine ocean conditions for wildlife-viewing.  It was sunny and there was no wind.  Sightings for the day included: 75 Pacific white-sided dolphins, 5 gray whales, 1000 long-beaked common dolphins, and 2 humpback whales.  As a side note these were our first humpback whales of the season and one of the pair was well known to us. “Rope” was our first humpback of the season!

On the morning trip we ran west along the beach which is the best way to find northbound gray whales. However, this particular drive up the coast was in some kind of gap between earlier and later whales.  Captian then turned left and took the Condor Express offshore to see what we could see.  A bit north of The Lanes two tall spouts turned out to be a pair of humpback whales.  As you already know, one of them was “Rope.”  Rope is a large adult female humpback whale that we’ve been watching for more than 10 years.  She’s earned her nickname from a prominent entanglement scar just posterior to her twin blowholes, a place where she was, indeed, wrapped in some rope the first time we saw her.

The noon excursion located a pair of young adult gray whales about 2 miles off the coast of Gaviota Bay.  We had great looks as we watched them westbound as far as Isla Vista.  Once again we headed south, offshore, then east.    Soon our second captain and deckhand spotted a mega-pod of around 1,000 dolphins.  We followed along as the whole herd was migrating quickly to the southwest.  After 20 minutes or so of nice looks, and as if someone flipped a switch, the whole herd went into very high speed “stampede” mode.  Wow!

Weather and sea conditions remained wonderful for the late afternoon expedition.  Right outside the mouth of Santa Barbara Harbor a large adult whale was located as we left on our third cruise.  We followed this adult west to Leadbetter Beach where we intersected a mother whale with her very young calf.  The pair was right in the surf zone, inside the kelp line.  Fantastic looks were had as astonished beach-goers saw us looking at the pair.  Turning out to deeper waters, a nice herd of Pacific white-sided dolphins found the Condor Express and rode our waves.

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