If you want to get out to offshore waters beyond the reach of most day
trips and have a chance to see a number of outstanding pelagic birds and
marine mammals, the Condor Express has a 12 to 14-hour deepwater
pelagic trip scheduled for April 27 out of Santa Barbara Harbor. Space is still available for
this trip which has had outstanding results the last few years.
This trip gives us the opportunity to get far offshore of southern
California and spend a lot of time in places that one-day trips can only
search briefly, if they can get there at all. If sea conditions permit,
we generally get all the way out to places like the Rodriguez Seamount,
San Juan Seamount, the Patton Escarpment, and several banks and
trenches that have produced a spectacular variety of marine birds and
mammals. If sea conditions prevent us from getting to some of these
locations, we will get as far offshore as we can to places where we have
found great birds. The 2011 trip recorded a Murphy's Petrel, Laysan
Black-footed Albatrosses, 13 Ashy Storm-Petrels, 4,000 Red-necked
Phalaropes, 240 Red Phalaropes, 100 Sabine's Gulls, 20 Arctic Terns, and
numbers of the expected shearwaters, jaegers, and alcids. In 2010, we
had 63 Cook's Petrels and a Murphy's Petrel, as well as Laysan and
Black-footed Albatrosses plus a host of the regular spring migrants
including Leach's and Ashy Storm-Petrels.
Deepwater trips at this time of year have the potential to produce
several rare species. We saw numbers of Cook's Petrels at this time of
year in 2009 and 2010. In addition, we will make a special effort to
locate Murphy's Petrels, which are not present every spring, but can be
found in small numbers over deep water. Other rarities that could be
encountered include Hawaiian Petrel, Parakeet Auklet, and Horned and
There is always a chance that we could come across something outrageous
we are not expecting, but we never know until we get out there, which
makes these trips very exciting.
Our vessel is the ultra-fast Condor Express. This catamaran features a
spacious and comfortable cabin that seats 55 people, full galley (the
food is great!), and excellent viewing from both the upper and lower
decks. A full contingent of outstanding seabird leaders will be present
to make sure we see all that is out there. Captain Mat and crew know how
to run birding trips and are enthusiastic and helpful. We will also be
adequately supplied with popcorn, fish, squid, beef suet, and cod liver
oil, to try and bring the birds in close. Photographers will not be
We never know what we will find out there, but there is always something
that leaves indelible memories with all who have gone aboard.
The cost for the trip is $195. We depart Santa Barbara promptly at 7:00
AM, so please arrive by 6:30 AM to facilitate check-in and loading.
Call the Sealanding at 888-77WHALE or 805-882-0088 to reserve your spot. I look forward to seeing you on-board in April.
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