02/21/14 ORCAS! plus hundreds of Risso’s Dolphins, some White-sided Dolphins and a Gray Whale
Today we “went for it” despite a rough marine forecast. We made the right call as the conditions on the bay were just fine, with bright sunshine and good spotting conditions. We came across a huge scattered school of Risso’s dolphins and got some real good looks along with some bow-riding Pacific white-sided dolphins. Out we went to the mouth of the bay in search of gray whales migrating north. We found one solo gray that was being very elusive. It was frustrating. Soon we found out why. There were two huge bull Orcas on the prowl. We got some good looks at the two. It is always a thrill to see an orca with a six foot tall dorsal fin moving so gracefully through the water! To top it off we found more Risso’s close in near Moss on the way home and they were doing some head slapping and breaches. Very cool. An excellent late February day on Monterey Bay!
02-12-2014 President’s Day Weekend Conditions Look Promising for Gray Whale Viewing
Light winds are predicted and much calmer seas ahead for our Fri-Mon trips this week. This is good news, as we had to cancel trips for the past two weeks due to rough ocean conditions. Well, there is a slight chance of rain, but we won’t worry about that. As long as we have light winds and long period swells, all is good for whale watching.
The straggler southbound gray whales continue and now we are expecting early northbound grays as well. This is the transition period in mid to late February where we get whales heading both ways. We have had great dolphin action this winter so far, so hope to encounter either Risso’s, Pacific White Sided or Common Dolphins as well.
Captain Mike has been off a sea sailing our sailboat, the Celtic Traveller, back home from Cabo, Baja Mexico where we had her for the fall. (That is why he hasn’t been posting much as he is too busy sailing.) It’s been a long, hard passage and he has stories to tell upon his return. Today he is sailing from Long Beach to Ventura. He’ll catch a train back home to run our weekend trips this Friday through Monday. Then back he goes to complete the last leg of the journey home to Moss Landing.
Plenty of Gray whales heading south! Wonderful conditions – it’s t-shirt weather in January on Monterey Bay.
photo: Kim Powel
01-16-2014 Gray Whales are Streaming South
Conditions are calm and clear here in Monterey Bay which makes the trip out towards the mouth of the bay where the gray whales are migrating by a pleasant one. There are record numbers of gray whales this year and great conditions out there. We’ve had good luck with dolphin sightings this month as well. Captain Mike is on a big mission – sailing our sailboat north from Cabo, Baja, Mexico. He will be sailing past most of the gray whale population heading south to the breeding lagoons in Baja on this voyage and photo documenting the trip. In fact, his anchoring spots are at the mouths of two of the main gray whale breeding lagoons – Magdalena Bay and Scammon’s Lagoon. Look for his posts and photos upon his return next month. In the meantime, we have Capt. Donny from the Kahuna piloting Sanctuary with our able crew – Dorris, Bonnie and Scott leading gray whale trips Fridays through Sundays.
11-20-2013 Plenty of Whales, Anchovies, Sea Lions, Birds and Dolphins Still
What a November it has been so far! The humpback whales continue to be abundant and active only a few miles out from Moss Landing. The conditions are remaining calm most days as well. It is truly incredible. We have added more weekend trips due to the high interest. On weekends we have 7 am early bird trips. Expect calm conditions at this time. We also have the 2-5 pm trips. Conditions can be a bit rougher if the winds come up, but it also could be the most awesome time to be out there with calm waters and beautiful sunsets and great whale behaviors. Typically the whale activity slows down in early December as the humpbacks head south towards their breeding grounds. The grays start arriving in mid to late December. So we will be taking a break to sail in Mexico from December 2-Christmas Day. We will be back in action for the Christmas holidays and early gray whales from December 26th onward.
11.11.13 – The whales are still here!
We just can’t get away from the whales if we tried. The Humpbacks have not left Monterey Bay yet, and are seen in every which direction when we head out of the Moss Landing Harbor right on top of the Monterey Submarine Canyon. Not only do we still have these massive congregations of California Sea Lions and Humpbacks feeding on the anchovies, but a large group of orcas have graced our presence as well! This year is one that will go down in the books!
11.8.13 – Fabulous Feeding Frenzy
Today was wonderful as we had one LARGE feeding frenzy! There were 15+ whales popping up within a flurry of California Sea Lions and a whole bunch of birds trying to steal a morsel when they can. Several whales cruised right in front of the boat giving several passengers a whiff of the fishy-smelling whale breath. We were even given a show of pectoral slapping, tail throwing and several breaches! What a wonderful day to be out on Monterey Bay!
11.1.13 – Humpbacks, Sea Lions, Sea Otters, Orcas!
The whales are still here and giving us a spectacular show! We definitely received the works today from the marine mammals. There were several sea otters snacking on our harbor exit, a feeding frenzy of Humpback whales along with the CA sea lions on the anchovies, followed by the Humpbacks lunge feeding, breaches over and over, and to top it off we saw 5 ORCAS! The waters were calm and we had a beautiful, warm, sunny day. It just couldn’t get any better.
10-20-2013 The humpback and sea lion feeding frenzy continues
We are just in awe of the sheer numbers of marine mammals feeding right outside Moss Landing constantly for the last two months. The frenzy phenomena continues and it sure is wild to observe up close. We have up to a thousand sea lions charging schools of anchovies with the humpback whales emerging amongst them. It feels like you are in the middle of a National Geographic special every day out here! Add the super calm conditions and plenty of sunshine and we are in seventh heaven.
10-12-2013 Orca stole the show today
We had some great looks at the orca named Fat Fin today as he cruised about the bay. We love it when you get good looks at the white eye patch like we did and also we got to see a breach close up! The humpbacks are increasing in numbers and it is wild out there. Everywhere you look are blows – like Yellowstone in the bay!
We’ve added a 7am Monday trip. Photo: AnandaSatara
10-11-2013 Breaches and Orca
10-10-2013 Humpback Variety Show
Wow. Today we saw a full suite of humpback surface behaviors. What a display. The whales were first encountered a few miles west of Moss just surfacing and diving. I glanced back and saw a spy hopper. I monitored it for a few minutes and determined it was a chronic spy hopper. So we turned around and headed back towards Moss. Good decision. This familiar whale (nickname Maynard) repeatedly spy hopped in slow motion close to the boat for all to see. It was checking us out too. I love being able to look a whale right in the eye and see all the throat grooves, barnacles and tubercles so clearly. After about fifteen spy hops, we headed back west and went back and forth with rather squirrelly pairs of whales until we encountered a tail lobber. This behavior was contagious, with three different whales intermittently tail lobbing. We got great views of this behaviour, a rollover view of the pectoral fins and then a full breach directly in front of our bow! As if this wasn’t enough excitement, we came across of sweet nursery pod of Risso’s dolphins with three tiny orangish babies. What a delight. Time to head back in, but the show was not over. Two massive humpbacks came in for a close up visit. And I mean CLOSE. These whales approached our boat, diving within feet of our starboard and giving all aboard the thrill of a lifetime. Quite a day on the bay!
10-08-2013 Orca on the Prowl and Plenty of Humpbacks
The past two days we have spent time with one of our favorite Orcas, “Fat Fin”. This big bull often prowls solo and frequents Monterey Bay as a regular visitor. He is an impressive big male killer whale and always a thrill to get good views of which we sure did yesterday.
The humpbacks remain in strong form on the bay. We did have to go out a few miles to encounter them the last few days but once found they gave all great views as they approached the boat closely numerous times. Breaches and pec slaps were seen from a distance. The anchovies must be deeper out there as no lunge feeding has been seen for a few days now. Just a tip, though. If you are walking the beach near Santa Cruz keep your eyes on the water as lunge feeding and breaching were seen not far from shore yesterday.
Rissos dolphins are back in the bay with new very young calves, giving us “three cetacean” days the past few. Conditions are superb. We have room on our 10 am trips each day this week. The time is right!
10-3-2013 Whale Acrobats and Class Clowns today
I always tell people that “everyday is different” out there and today was a great example. We started out with a single juvenile humpback whale that spyhopped within 100 yards of the boat. so we just sat still and watched. This young and inquisitive whale popped up vertically in slow motion at least 15 times and kept us all enthralled. It had a distinctive patch of barnacles right on the tip of the chin which looked like a goatee so I dubbed it “Maynard G. Crebbs”. Remember Bob Denver’s, aka Gilligan’s, first character in Dobey Gillis as a goateed beatnik? Ok, I’m dating myself here, I know. It was too much fun with this whale.
As this wasn’t enough, we saw breaching in the not too distant horizon, so off we went to beat the incoming wind. What a reward we had! Another young whale was having a breach-fest. Another 90 minutes of entertainment ensued as this whale exuberantly breached over and over and over again. It got so I could predict exactly when and where the next breach would occur by watching the way it fluked. Some pec slaps and lob tails added icing to the cake.
We had the Save our Shores conservation staff aboard today and folks from all over the US and the world. Great day, great whales and Great passengers!
10-01-2013 The humpback whale show continues
We had to wander a bit to reach the action today, but once found we had pec slaps, tail lobs galore. It is really remarkable to observe how this anchovy feeding frenzy continues unabated for almost a month here in Monterey Bay. We’ve had the most concentration and best action quite near Moss Landing, but there are regular observations from shore near Santa Cruz, Aptos and Seaside. On a good day, I will kayak with the whales at dawn near my house, then jump on the boat at Moss to lead an amazing whale watch tour or two over the canyon and then back home and watching whales from the beach at sunset. I love where I live and work!
09-27-2013 Massive lunge feeding humpbacks only a few miles out
The whale action today was breathtaking. We came upon a group of about ten whales that were lungefeeding repeatedly in a tight feeding frenzy for hours. If you want to feel like you are in a National Geographic special, now is the time to come aboard. Seriously.
09-23-2013 A Whale of a Week so far!
This Photo by Giancarlo Thomae shows the inside of a whale’s mouth with the two rows of baleen and the pink palate. Note the tiny anchovies escaping from the gaping whale mouth. This week has been quite incredible aboard Sanctuary and on the Monterey Bay. The whale action really picked up over the weekend with many breaching, lobtailing and pec slapping whales. Then the group lunge-feeding began. Quite the spectacle with as many as nine whales surfacing in synchrony with their massive mouths agape and anchovies leaping for the lives. The conditions got wild for our afternoon trips this past weekend, causing us to cancel our Saturday 3 pm, but the Sunday 3 pm went well with continued awesome sightings. Monday the massive lunge feeding event had subsided near Moss but there were incredible sightings more to the northwestern part of the bay. Our trips are filling up fast as word spreads about the best September ever on Monterey Bay for whale watching.
09-17-2013 Synchronized Swimming Gone Wild
Today was wild at Moss Landing with a tightly packed mob of California sea lions and a dozen close-knit humpback whales swimming circles around a school of anchovies for hours. Sanctuary was instantly surrounded by whales and sea lions as soon as we exited the harbor this morning. We spent over three mesmerizing hours amongst this enthralling event. As we sat there in neutral, the whole gang would swim right towards the boat rapidly and whales surfaced over an over again only feet from the boat. At one point there were twenty whales within a quarter mile of the boat and more in the distance. The thrill of having so many whales so close swimming synchronously surrounding the boat is one we will never forget. This September is one for the record books in Monterey Bay whale watching history!
09-12-2013 The “Whale Soup” phenomena continues
Another steller day on the bay today with at least fifty humpback whales cruising around us and as far as we could see. We had breaches, tail lobs, pec slaps and lunging – the full suite of behaviors. At one point a humpback got caught up in the kelp and shook its giant tail fluke to shed the kelp. Risso’s dolphins were awesome today as well. The highlight today was when a huge whale popped up only feet from the bow and then cruised along the side of the boat in clear water so all could see it’s body below. Then a pod of dolphins we were watching turned and chased the whale! Pretty cool. We ended the trip with a massive Steller Sea Lion on the MLA buoy. A picture perfect day!
09-11-2013 Incredible Humpback Whale Action Continues Here
I missed the last six days of whale megapods swarming outside Moss Landing as I was down in Ventura and the Channel Islands with our sailboat. I had to see it with my own eyes today to really believe it. Wow! Everywhere you gaze, there are many whales surfacing as far as you can see. It is like Yellowstone on the ocean. Geyser-like whale blows going off all around you. The bay is alive with food right now and the whales, dolphins, sea lions and birds are having a field day. Then exquisitely calm conditions and lighting are an added bonus. The real treat today was the Risso’s dolphins playing around the humpbacks for the entire trip. We saw more breaching dolphins than whales today (closer, too). It is unusual to have Risso’s hanging with humpbacks, but the food was there and they were going for it. Another treat was a brief glimpse of some very speedy Dall’s porpoise. The time is right to enjoy Monterey Bay.
09-06-2013 Massive amounts of feeding humpbacks are in Monterey Bay now!
The action is just getting better with humpbacks all over the bay feeding like crazy on schools of anchovies. Only three miles west of Moss Landing the Sanctuary was in the center of a cluster of 20 humpback whales. Just amazing. Mike and Dorris are actually missing the action as we are down south cruising the Channel Islands in our sailboat while our trusty crew, Captain Cory and biologists Giancarlo and Chase are manning the Sanctuary. Now is the time to hop aboard and enjoy the exceptional September seas and abundant marine life on the bay. We have some spots open for our Sunday trip at 10 am.
09-2-2013 So Many Humpbacks
Today we had to go out a few miles to find whales, but once we did we hit the jackpot! The circling close to Moss Landing came to an end a few days ago.
Here are some photos that we are posting from a trip the day before. They were all photographed by passenger Peter Hutchinson. This is what we’ve been seeing lately.
The good news is the whales are more actively feeding and there are more whales. We had whales on both sides of the boat, in front of the boat and sometimes behind the boat too. We got to see all of the wonderful humpback behaviors we hope for – breaching (from a distance, but a synchronous double breach), tail lobbing, lungefeeding, pec fin slapping, trumpeting and a few close swim bys.
We even got some intense whiffs of whale breath. The most unusual sighting was a huge mola (ocean sunfish) that breached clear of the water twice. You never know what you will see out there. We still have some space on tomorrow’s trip, Tuesday.
Then we take a few well-deserved days off the water and back out on Friday through Monday for 10 am trips. Come on out!
09-1-2013 Wonderful Humpback Whale action today
Things really changed today out on Monterey Bay. We had a large group of humpback whales actively surface lunge feeding. The anchovies were near the surface so the whales came plowing straight up with their huge mouths open. What a sight! We’ve been waiting for this action to happen and finally it has. We also had some breaches and tail lobs today. This was a welcome change after several days of sleepy whales just logging and not really putting on a show. Let’s hope they finish off our summer season with a bang tomorrow. We still have some spots for our 10 am trip. Come on aboard!
08-28-2013 Playful humpback whale calf steals the show
Today we started with a pair of adult whales very close to Moss Landing who were really sleeping. They logged on the surface of the water in full sight for over 45 minutes while we patiently hung around and waited for them to wake up. A hoard of young sea lions pestered them mercilessly but they just slept through it all. So we had great and long close up looks at two very sleepy whales. Then we headed out to the action zone just a half mile further west where three groups of humpbacks were circling around their prey and the birds and sea lions were going bonkers. It was fun to watch. The fog crept in and out and were were worried we lost the whales, when we spotted some in the distance. Our playful calf with its mom Capt. Hook was back! This very calf had put on a breaching fest just two days ago for three trips in a row, so we were happy to find it again. This calf never fails to delight and today was not exception. It rolled and slapped and tail lobbed over and over and over again right next to our boat! Just to keep things interesting a lone humpback would periodically buzz our boat within ten feet. What a thrill!
These humpbacks whales are really putting on a great show and now is the time to get aboard and enjoy our marine bounty in great conditions!
08-16-2013 The Amazing Spyhopping Humpback!
The marine conditions have been excellent for viewing whales the past three weeks in the Monterey Bay. We have been viewing 8-10 whales consistently within 10 minutes of the Moss Landing harbor. These leviathans are feeding on an abundance of anchovies. Today, as soon as the fog cleared yielding flat calm green seas, a young humpback whale did a spy hop (where they position their heads vertically above the water to get a look at their surroundings), much to every passengers’ delight. Add a large school of salmon, good views of a sunfish (Mola mola) and a pod of bottlenose dolphins to the mix, and we had another fantastic trip. Saturday we have added an 8 – 10 am trip at a reduced price and also a 2:30 pm trip. It doesn’t get much better than this!
08-14-2013 Amazing Humpback Action plus Risso’s Dolphins
We had cloudy conditions to begin the day, but we immediately had whales right out of the harbor. We were with multiple Humpback whales and within the first minute, a large adult breached clear out of the water twice. It was a spectacular sight to start the day.
We spent some time with the Humpbacks watching them swim and dive and after awhile we headed out west to find some Risso’s dolphins. By this point the sun was breaking through and all the clouds were all but gone. We found a pod of about 40 dolphins and they got within a few feet of the boat. One dolphin decided to show off and breached 5 times, which was a fun sighting. We got word of a big pod of 500 dolphins so we left the pod and headed out to find the other dolphins. On our way we came across a 5 foot Ocean Sunfish who floated on the surface right next to our boat and we were all staring him in the eye!
We arrived shortly after with all the dolphins and floated in the middle of the massive pod. The dolphins surrounded the boat and you couldn’t look a long direction. They breached, tail-lobbed and did many other acrobatic tricks. After 20 minutes with the pod, we headed back towards Moss Landing to get some more looks at the Humpback whales. We found around 7 whales and one of them breached 3 times in a marvelous display. It was a perfect way to end a great day.
08-14-2013 Humpbacks are hanging around Moss Landing
Moss is the place to be for whale watching in Monterey Bay right now. We have been viewing 8-12 whales daily very close to Moss Landing as they feed in wide circles on the abundant anchovies. The bird action has been stunning as well. The big prize yesterday was a huge adult humpback whale that came right alongside Sanctuary and breached three times – just to make sure all the passengers got a good look! Add molas, blue sharks and abundant jellies to the mix and we had a fantastic trip. To top it off the Pacific bottlenose dolphins treated us to some great views as they cruised right by the harbor mouth upon our return to port. Now is the time to see whales very close to shore here in Moss Landing!
08-06-2013: Near Perfect Conditions Continue, Humpbacks Five Minutes Out, Massive Flocks of Sooty Shearwaters, Anchovies, Lunge-Feeding Humpbacks, Calm Glassy Conditions
I can’t remember a better stretch of outstanding whale watching and perfect marine conditions. So good we’ve been doing two trips per day and getting in at least 3+ hours of face time with the mighty but agile humpback whale.
It gives us a chance to explore. Maybe find a leatherback turtle like the one below.
For the last few weeks we’ve been spotting blows before we’re even out of the harbor. So it’s nice to be on the whales within the first 10 minutes of a four-hour trip. We’ve also been finding Risso’s dolphins a little further out.
But best show has been the humpbacks. We’ve been seeing lunge feeding, full-breaching, tail lobbing and a lot more.
We’ve also been seeing Mola Molas, the occasional young female elephant seal and the occasional wayward northern fur seal.
So far the incredible conditions are holding and the whales are here en mass. And they’ve been very active. Breaching and tail-lobbing. Just amazing.
07-29-2013 Humpbacks and Dolphins so close to Moss Landing in Calm Seas
The past ten days we have had ideal conditions for whale viewing inside the bay very close to Moss Landing. The humpback whales have been feeding on anchovies right here at the head of the Monterey Submarine Canyon swimming big circles around and feasting.
Some trips they get frisky and we’ve had incredible chronic breaching and tail lobbing events. Other trips they are single-mindedly feeding. We see short dives, many surfacings and lots of fluking. The mom and calf pairs have been fun to hang out with, as you never know when a rambunctious calf will fly out of the water in a full breach.
The Risso’s dolphins have really been stealing the show in the past three days. They seem to be actively feeding on the abundant fish near the surface and are super charging and porpoising up clear of the surface in trios that look like a dolphin show at Seaworld! But the best of all are the newborn calves.
This photo taken by Giancarlo Thomae is of a newborn calf still showing the fetal folds. The babies are all curled up in the uterus and have wrinkles when they are newborn.
07-18-2013: The Incredible Breaching Orca
After nice looks at a couple of southern sea otters and a mola, we kept heading west hoping to stumble across a cetacean or two. Then we had a report of a single male orca about three miles from our position. So we made a course and put the hammer down.
It didn’t take long before we could see the unmistakable, tall black dorsal fin of the mighty orca.
This was one an epic encounter. Let me tell you. This animal was consistently active for about two hours. And it was large. 25′-30′ long. It didn’t stop tail lobbing and breaching the whole time. Just when we thought it was over, the animal would launch up and come completely out of the water. It was shock and awe every time. Just incredible.
Before we got on the scene there were reports that the beast had been feeding on a carcass of some sort. The orcas often get playful and acrobatic after a kill. And that attracts the black-footed albatross.
07-16-2013: It doesn’t get much better than this. Humpbacks, Blue Whale, Blue Sharks, Leatherback Turtles, Risso’s Dolphins and More. Perfect Conditions All Day
Today was one of those epic days. We had calm, glassy conditions all day long and the Bay is alive and in full swing with an abundance of marine wildlife. Right now, a lot of it is happening just outside of Moss Landing.
There has been a mother and calf humpback pair hanging around the Moss Landing area for the last few days. They were just outside our harbor again today. We were on them right out the gate on both our 10:00 am and our 3:00 pm trips. So that was cool.
We’ve also had some great looks at mola molas and Risso’s dolphins.
But the Leatherback turtles were the real treat. Two leatherback turtles foraging just outside of Moss Landing.
Just remarkable. And the calm conditions really topped it off. Over the top really. It just doesn’t get any better than this.
And then on the way in, we came across a blue whale! Just an amazing day.
07-12-2013: More Fluking Blue Whales, Risso’s Dolphins, Pacific White-sided Dolphins and Northern Right-whale Dolphins
The is the longest streak of nice conditions and close in sightings we’ve had in recent memory. Lately, we’ve been on the animals within 30 minutes of leaving the harbor. So that’s always nice. We were on two large blue whales within about 30 minutes.
Calm seas and no wind. Blue whales continue to feed in The Bay. And today we had a great look at a multi-species pod of dolphins. We had Pacific white-sided dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and Northern right whale dolphins all cruising around the area breaching and tail slapping. Very cool.
07-11-2013: More Blue Whale Action, “Delta” The Blue Whale Shows Up, Risso’s Dolphins
The blue whales just keep coming. Today we were a handful of the largest animals to have ever roamed the earth: The mighty blue whale. They were all around in a 2-3 mile area and we could see other blows in the distance. It was one of those nice days where we knew we had whales just outside of Moss Landing because we were in communication with the rest of the whale fleet. We also had a visual on them in the distance. Reports of a basking shark, calm conditions. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Within about 20 minutes from leaving the harbor, we were with a mother blue and her calf for a solid hour. Every once in a while a full-size blue would pass through the area, heading to the west at a solid clip. Then we decided to do a little exploring. So we headed out west and ran across a few more blues.
We also came across a couple of sly humpbacks. They surfaced a couple of times. Then we lost them. We were distracted by slow-moving pod of Risso’s dolphins. We had excellent looks.
So it’s still pretty much about the blues and the Risso’s dolphins. Hopefully some orcas will show up. We never know with the orcas.
07-07-2013: Many blue whales, but dolphins stole the show
Another awesome day out on Monterey Bay today. We found a big blue whale within a few miles of Moss Landing and it just keep getting better as the day progressed. The blue whales are inside the bay and focusing on the area directly west of Moss Landing. They are cruising in big circles feeding on krill near the canyon walls. Today they were all fluking high when they dove, making for great photo ops. The real show of the day, however, were hundreds of playful Risso’s dolphins. They were frisky and airborne over and over right next to the boat! The grand finale was a speedy “fly-by” of a pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins (as seen in this photo by Chase Dekker). The afternoon lighting was magical, the sooty shearwaters were flocking all around us and the dolphins were airborne as they rapidly sped westward. Today was one of the best aboard Sanctuary for sure.
07-04-2013: The Motherlode Moves North, Great Looks at a Mola Mola
We had more of the same today as the blue whales and humpbacks move closer to home. And the conditions were near perfect. Plenty of sun and visibility. We could see spouts in the distance and had reports of whales from north of the Soquel Canyon all the way down to Carmel Bay. A lot of whales have moved in and are on the feed. Mostly krill at this point.
And the Mola Mola sighting was one of our best. This beast had it’s head slightly out of the water and it’s mouth wide open, eyes looking at us. Ah yes, the Giant Ocean Sunfish. This one was about 4′-5′ long. They mainly eat the jellies. We’ve been seeing some large blooms of the sea-nettles, AKA the Chrysaora. The leather back turtles also eat the sea-nettles. So we’re always on the look out for the leather-backs when were in a lot of jellies or there are Molas around.
After about an hour or so of smooth cruising, we started to get into the zone. Multiple blows in the distance. Clearly blue whale spouts. We can often do a preliminary species I.D. by the size and structure of the spout. A circular, tall blast-like spout is likely a blue whale. Humpback blows are usually not as tall and more heart-shaped in structure.
We also started seeing some humpback spouts. As we got a little closer to the blows we slowed down and started drifting to get an idea for what they were doing and what direction they were headed.
The next thing we knew, a big blast 40 yards off to our right. A massive blue whale surfaces with it’s pectoral fin in the air, slightly exposing it’s throat pleats. Oh yeah. We’ve got some surface lunging going on. Then, this 80′+ animal seemed to change course and slowly move in our direction. It just kept coming. We could see it just below the surface as it cruised toward us. I’m thinking friendly blue whale. Sure enough. That’s about as friendly as a blue whale will get. It cruised right up to us and surfaced parallel to the length of the boat then across our stern. Very cool. Passengers on the stern were looking down the blow holes of the biggest animal to have ever roamed the earth.
We also had a handful of humpbacks that were in the area feeding. A few times we had a blue and a humpback feeding within 25 yards of each. A regular feeding frenzy.
And then of course the black-footed albatross like to get in on the action. So these amazing birds can have a wing-span up to 7′ wide.