05-20-2015 Spring Conditions and Reliable Humpbacks at Moss Landing
This past week we have had humpback whales consistently circling within a mile or so of Moss Landing Harbor. There aren’t large numbers – usually 2-10 whales at a time. They are clearly in feeding mode as they circle methodically. We get good looks at their surfacings and flukings with an occasional breach or tail lob. The stars have been the mother calf pairs that are about five miles out. The calves are curious and sometimes playful, so we’ve been treated to some very close visits and also some good behaviors like tail lobs and pec slaps. We’ve also had a few days of very active feeding frenzy behavior with 10-12 humpbacks along with hundreds of sea lions and birds all working on a large school of anchovies a few miles to the southwest of Moss.
We believe there are still some gray whale mothers and calves heading north and this Memorial Day weekend likely will be the last chance this season to catch a view of these whales and perhaps also encounter the hunting pods of orcas associated with them.
It’s not all about whales out there – The Rissos Dolphins are being spotted more often now and they always give us good looks. Bow-riding LB Common Dolphins are still a presence in the bay and we encounter them most days.
Our educated prediction: With these daily afternoon winds, we are expecting the krill blooms to begin soon which will attract more baleen whales into the bay.
05-08-2-15 Adorable humpback calf showing off
Lovely conditions today – sort of magical out there. This was the calm AFTER the storm. We were treated to at least five sets of humpback whale pairs from right off Moss Landing to about five miles out. The big treat was a new calf with its mom spending lots of surface time giving us great views. It breached several times right near the boat for all to see! To top it all off we had bow riding LB Common Dolphins playing alongside the boat on the way in. A gray whale mother and calf were spotted on our early am trip right outside the harbor heading north. The otter sightings todays were extra special as well with several feasting in huge crabs right by the boat. It was sure a swell day out there!
Report of orcas outside the bay today straight West, so we are hoping for them this weakend inside the bay. This is the highest probability weekend for Orca sightings in Monterey Bay as the largest concentration of gray whale mother:calf pairs are heading through this week.
04-20-15: Orca Pod on Gray Whale Kill, Humpbacks and Sea Lions in Feeding Frenzy just oustide of Moss Landing
Incredible sightings today. It looks like the orcas are starting to come around regularly now. Early on into the trip we heard reports of orcas on a gray whale calf kill about 3-4 miles from the Moss Landing Harbor. So as soon as we left the harbor we knew we were in for a good trip. I set a course for the location of the killer whale action and bumped up the RPMs.
Check out this humpback whale feeding frenzy video.
We didn’t get more than a mile or two before we started coming across the mighty blows of the humpback whale.
We stopped for a bit and had some nice looks at a few humpbacks. But we soon continued on the killer whale action.
On the way in we found ten humpback whales in a massive feeding frenzy along with hundreds of sea lions. Quite impressive. The last two days we have had great humpback displays within a mile of Moss with breaching, pec slapping and tail lobbing. Then there are the hundreds of Long Beaked Common dolphins feeding within a few miles of Moss daily. Did we mention the four blue whales that have been in the bay for four days straight feeding? It’s good out there now.
04-16-15: Orcas on the Hunt, Blue Whales, Humpbacks and More
Check out some of the video we shot. Amazing out there today – as we exited the harbor mouth a lone humpback whale greeted us with a breach. This was a good sign.
Ten more minutes and we were with a pod of Orcas on the prowl. We were treated to multiple breaches by the youngest whale in the clan.
We were patient, waiting our turn to view them closer and letting the Monterey whale boats leave the scene. As soon as we were alone with the pod, they came right up to the boat and circled us within a few feet! It gets better. Up pops a large harbor seal and it swims right to our boat, hugging the side for protection.
The orcas were swarming and the seal along with the Sanctuary were the center of their attentions. This dramatic predator prey interaction played out as expected. The harbor seal became lunch for the Orcas and our passengers had the wildlife observation experience of a lifetime!
It’s hard to beat a good Orca event like this, but the show was not over. We ventured out further and found several huge blue whales inside the bay.
All aboard got many good looks at them as they turned and came towards Sanctuary. It was awesome! To top it all off, we had black footed albatrosses soaring around them. It was a good day.
04-14-2015: More Humpbacks Showing Up, Common Dolphins, Risso’s and More
The Monterey Bay marine life action is just starting to kick into high gear. We’ve been having 20-25 knot plus northwesterly winds in the afternoons and sunshine all day long. This creates what we call upwelling.
Upwelling is when the cooler, nutrient rich waters from the deeper waters (particularly along the ledges the Monterey Bay Submarine Canyon) reach the sun exposed upper stratus of the water column. Then, through photo-synthesis, we have these massive phytoplankton blooms. That’s what the krill eat. And of course, the humpbacks and blue whales feed on the krill.
Hopefully we’ll start seeing more surface krill blooms. We’ve already seen some scattered swarms. But not in big numbers.
As we get closer to June we should start to see more blue whales coming into The Bay as well. But for now, we’ve been seeing close in long-beaked common dolphins on every trip.
They’ve pretty much been hanging out feeding just outside of the harbor. We’ve also had feeding humpback whales just outside the Moss Landing Harbor. We haven’t had the kind of all day lunge-feeding we had a couple of days in March. But we have had some good breaching action and friendly behavior as well as the occasional surface lunge.
It’s also getting to be that time of year where we should start to see more orcas coming through.
In fact, I’m thinking of doing some early morning orca scouting trips for people who can’t get enough. Here’s the deal, if you are already going out on one of our other trips that day, we’ll throw in the 3-hour+ dawn-patrol orca scouting trip for $10.00 more. Likely smaller groups on these dawn patrol trips. We’re going to do them periodically but try and do them every Thursday and Friday. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.
04-08-2015 Active Humpbacks and Common Dolphins that won’t quit
The bay right outside Moss Landing was wild with marine life today! After watching a tight group of five humpbacks feeding within a mile of Moss and spending multiple bouts with hundreds of Long Beaked Common Dolphins milling about the boat, Dorris spotted a breacher to the west. Out we went and it sure was worth it! A few miles out we had a pair of very active humpbacks that breached, tail lobbed and pec slapped for a very long time. The five breaches near the boat for all to see was the big prize for today’s passengers! We are adding two hour trips at 2:30 now – so come on aboard!
03-25-2015: Lunge-feeding Humpback Whales, Common Dolphins
The humpback whale surface lunge-feeding action has been constant the last couple of days.
Early into the trip we vectored in on a handful of spouts and hovering birds on the horizon.
As we got closer we knew we in for a show. Pelicans diving, birds on on the water, sea lions, common dolphins creating turbulence in the water. Splashing and watery mayhem.
And in the middle of it all were about six humpback whales popping their big fatty whale heads out the water. This is what you call surface lunge feeding.
And on the outskirts, scattered pods of common dolphins would come and go through it all. An amazing spectacle to behold.
03-08-15 Humpback Whales right outside of Moss Landing along with a thousand Common Dolphins!
Yesterday we had exquisite conditions – calm flat seas and sunshine along with several encounters with the long-beaked common dolphins that are fishing very near to Moss Landing these days. The whales were circling in wide swaths and showing great tail flukes as well as a very nice breach! Captain Mike has been every so busy upgrading the Sanctuary with new seating, woodwork and mechanical components. Our next trip is Thursday March 12th. We are opening up two hour trips for St. Patricks Day weekend and feeling lucky!
02-13-2015: Killer Whales, Gray Whales, Dolphins, Humpbacks and Perfect Weather Conditions
The action still hasn’t stopped in The Monterey Bay. And most of the action is within a few miles from the Moss Landing Harbor. As we were just getting started and on the hunt for humpbacks, a scattered group of long-beaked common dolphins came buzzing through and began following us. That distracted us for about an hour.
During the dolphin mayhem we lost track of the humpbacks and decided to head further out in search of more humpbacks maybe some gray whales. We didn’t find any humpbacks out there. But we did find more dolphins and had great looks at a trio of gray whales.
Then on the way in, we came across three female orcas. So that was a nice way to end the trip. We also came across two humpbacks about two miles outside the harbor.
01-31-2015: Feeding Humpbacks, Mating Gray Whales and Common Dolphins
It’s looking more and more like we are going to experience what could be a historical first here in the Monterey Bay. That would be year round reliable humpbacks in good numbers feeding right out in front of Moss Landing. It pretty much hasn’t stopped since they came back last March. A major change in the migratory behavior of at least some of these Moss Landing Humpbacks.
Today we had breaching and tail lobbing humpbacks. Maybe 6-10 whales in all. Just incredible. Usually, the majority of our humpbacks in the Monterey Bay migrate to Southern Mexico in November and December. Humpbacks were rarely spotted in The Bay from January through March.
We also had a rare encounter with mating gray whales today. It is very unlikely that these gray whales we encountered today will make it all the way down to their historical mating and calving grounds. We usually start to see the northbound gray whales coming through the Monterey Bay on their way to Alaska in March.
We are only one month away from the traditional start of our humpback whale season. That’s when the majority of the Eastern Pacific population of humpback whales begin to return to their feeding grounds along the Pacific Coast and more specifically right out in front of Moss Landing.
The big difference this year was that some of these humpbacks never did the southbound migration. I believe we are seeing migratory evolution right before our eyes. Truly remarkable.
We haven’t even done any gray whale trips yet. But we have been seeing them on occasion right out in front of Moss Landing.
01-29-2015 Diversity! Grays, Humpbacks, Rissos & Common Dolphins
Conditions remain beautiful out on the bay and the humpbacks are hanging around to enjoy the winter and continuing anchovies. The Long Beaked Common Dolphins continue to please tremendously as they come to play with Sanctuary almost daily. Finally we had Risso’s dolphins again just about five miles West of Moss. This is hands down the best January ever for whale watching out of Moss Landing. We still have some spots for Super Bowl Sunday for those of you who would rather be on a boat like us!
01-19-2015 We still have humpbacks and plenty of LB Common Dolphins
Monday’s trip began with a sighting of an entangled humpback whale. We called the rescue team and stuck with the unfortunate whale until they could get out to help it. After this humbling start (we’ve seen too many entanglements this year) we came upon an active breaching and slapping humpback whale and many long beaked common dolphins! Here is a photo by passenger John Parman.
We still have openings for this Friday and Saturday at 10 am!
01-17-2015 Amazing Wild Dolphin Show on Monterey Bay today!
Today the long-beaked common dolphins stole the show from the humpbacks. There were thousands of dolphins, bow-riding, wake-riding, leaping and whistling. After an hour of almost nonstop bow-riding and milling about, all of a sudden their behavior changed dramatically. The entire school took off in formation, leaping and speeding away as if they were being chased by a formidable predator (which we never saw). Seeing thousands of dolphins leaping in unison and throwing up lines of splashes was quite the sight! After that dolphin display, we were feeling ready for some humpback whale action. We sure got it – as a solo humpback breached in the distance. We made our way closer hoping to see another breach and it sure paid off. Just fifty yards from the boat the whale exploded out of the water for all to see! Another fantastic day aboard Sanctuary.
01-16-2015: Breaching Gray Whale at Moss grand finale to superb trip today
This January is one for the records with super calm conditions including awesome skies and lighting. Humpback whales are continuing to feed within five miles of Moss daily along with thousands of sea birds and common dolphins. It is sheer delight to spend several hours with a group of foraging humpbacks, birds, sea lions and dolphins. The occasional gray whale that comes inside the bay on their southbound migration adds quite nicely to the mix! We are running trips just on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holiday Mondays this month as Captain Mike spends the weekdays upgrading our faithful vessel, the Sanctuary.
01-04-2015 Epic Winter conditions! Humpback whales, gray whales and dolphins!
Four days into the new year and we still have humpbacks aplenty foraging in Monterey Bay. We had to go out a bit further (five miles) to find them today, but they have been circling back in towards Moss each afternoon. Today we had seven gray whales heading east right along the north edge of the canyon. Beautiful sight! The dolphins sort of stole the show again – we have had so many long beaked common dolphins this past week or so. They are avid bow-riders so never fail to delight passengers. This January we will be focusing on weekend trips, with the occasional Friday and Monday cruise. Mid week we are renovating the Sanctuary cabin. Happy New Year!
11-20-2014: More Feeding Humbacks, Common Dolphins
The humpbacks and sea lions are still on their feeding frenzy just a few miles out in front of Moss Landing. We had a little rain over the last few days, so we haven’t gone out. But we’re giving it another shot Saturday afternoon. And then again on Sunday.
Check out this cool video of a humpback lunge feeding right next to the boat:
11-17-2014: Breaching Humpbacks, Common Dolphins and More
The action continues just outside of Moss Landing Harbor. We’ve also been having regular sightings of Orcas. Conditions also continue to hold. We’ve been taking a couple of days a week off the water for maintenance, but the action still continues. We’ll see what happens today and report back tomorrow.
11-16-2014: Perfect Conditions All Day Long, Big Numbers of Humpbacks Move in, Sea Lions, Feeding Orcas
I knew we were off to a good start when I received a radio report of killer whales on the prowl just a few miles from the Moss Landing Harbor.
But we took our time as we came across a chronic breacher. This whale just kept launching. Maybe 10-15 times as we approached. Of course as we got closer it decided to move on and stopped jumping.
So we decided to move on as well toward where the killer whales were. By this time I could see the other boats with the orcas slowly making their way in our direction. So things were looking good for getting in on some orca action.
This turned out to be an excellent orca encounter. But the sheer number of whales feeding together with the large number of sea lions is an incredible experience. At one point, we had the whole lot of them in coming directly at us.
It was like being in the path of a stampede of massive animals. The splashing of sea lions, the loud blasts of 10-15 whales coming within 20 yards and closing and then disappearing as they move past the stern and under the boat. Living the dream.
11-15-2014: It Just Keeps on Keeping On, 10+ Humpback Whales Feeding Together, Sea Lions, Common Dolphins, Orcas and More
There seems to be no end in sight. Although the action has moved out a little further. We’re not seeing whales until we get about 4-miles out.
Usually we get a glimpse of them and then they’re down and that’s last we see of them. But I circled around anyways and this thing just came right up to us.
This was the first friendly elephant seal encounter I’ve had.
We’ve also been having regular common dolphin encounters. Today the water was very clear so we could see the dolphin about 8-10 under. There were at least 500 of them cruising around feeding with a couple of humpbacks.
There were scattered whales all throughout The Bay. We had reports from boats to the north that were also having an incredible show of many whales. And then there was the breaching. We had a couple of close up double breaches. This is when two whales simultaneously launch out of the water. It’s quite spectacular.
For the most part, the weather has been perfect. We did have to cancel a couple of trips of the last week or so. But epic fall conditions continue and more humpbacks and dolphins seem to be showing up.
11-05-2014: Humpback Whale Lunge-Feeding Event Just Outside Moss Landing Harbor
Perfect conditions today. All day long. I had a short 1 hour private tour in the morning and nothing else scheduled for the rest of the day.
After getting out there and seeing non-stop surface lunge-feeding, perfect marine conditions, I was planning on getting back out as soon as possible after the short morning charter.
After I tied off, I hurried off to the Whole Enchilada Marketplace, picked up a sandwich and shoved off for a solo photo mission. The conditions were just too perfect.
As soon as I left the harbor I could tell the frenzy was still on. Birds, sea lions and the big fatty-head of the mighty humpback whale closing in on a 4,500+ LB day of feeding.
All within a few minutes of the harbor. The Moss Landing Whale park was in full-swing.
11-02-2014: Epic Fall Conditions, Feeding Humpbacks, Three-species of Dolphins and More
Epic fall conditions have prevailed over the last week. And the humpbacks are still feasting.
Today the whales were about 5-6 miles out. So we have been having to go out a little further lately. But they’ve been coming and going throughout the day. We’ll see them closer to shore at different times during the day.
Over the last week or so, they seem to go in and out ranging from just outside the harbor mouth to just over 6-miles out.
And there doesn’t seem to be any pattern. It’s pretty random actually.
The dolphin sightings have been fantastic. Today we had great looks at a mixed pod of about 500+ bow-riding common dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and a small group of about 25 northern right whale dolphins. The clear water and sunlight made the viewing even more spectacular as the common dolphins and northern right whale dolphins rode in our wake and in front of our bow.
The whole Monterey Bay whale watching fleet continues to come over to Moss Landing for the “Big Show” as the whale watching boat captains have been calling it. We talking 4-6 humpback whales feeding along side 200-300 sea lions. As we’ve mentioned, it’s quite a spectacle.
We also came across some krill today. So that was interesting. A late krill bloom? Who knows what that will bring.
11/02/2014 Fantastic triple species dolphin show plus Chronic Breaching Humpbacks
Today was spectacular! We started with a few whale sightings close in then were lured out to a dolphin event. There were about a thousand long beaked common dolphins that rode our bow and wake and leaped out of the water over and over for about an hour. Then Risso’s dolphins came in and gave us great looks and to top it off a small pod of Northern Right Whale Dolphins rode our bow. What an exquisite treat! Back to the whales of which they were a bit scattered. We got the big prize just a few miles from Moss when we came upon a pair of breaching young humpbacks. They alternated breaching and pectoral fin slapping for another hour. A complete delight! There are still plenty of spots on our weekday trips this week and the conditions are lovely.
10-27-2014: Humpbacks Still Going Strong In Front of Moss Landing
There seems to be no end in sight as the humpbacks continue to feed in front of Moss Landing. They’ve been coming and going between just outside to harbor mouth to 4-5 miles out.
We continue to see large numbers of sea lions feeding with the humpbacks. It’s a pretty wild spectacle to behold. When it is calm enough, we can turn the engine off and wait.
Looking around the boat, the only sound is the light swell sloshing against the hull.
Then the next thing we know, sea lions start coming up around the boat. First a just a few start coming up. Then suddenly they all come up at once. All 200+ of them. Splashing and barking.
This is soon followed by 4-6 humpbacks whales surfacing in the middle of the sea lions just off our starboard side.
They make their presence known with a loud blast from their massive nostrils as the sea lions scatter.
10-09-2014: The Humpback Friendlies Invade, Whales and Sea Lions Everywhere
It really doesn’t get much better than this. At least that’s what we keep thinking. And then we have 10-15 humpback whales swarm the boat! It’s really hard to imagine. Our boat is 43′ long. About 30 tons in weight. Most of the whales around us today each weighed over 30-tons.
Today, once we got onto the scene of where we were seeing spouts, we slowed the boat and put her into neutral.
The next thing we knew, we were in them. Literally. We had 10-15 whales interested in us.
They were popping up all around the boat. And these animals were not shy. They regularly popped up next to the boat with the starling blast of it’s spout.
And then there were the sea lions. We have been seeing the whales and sea lions feeding in the same area a lot this year.
10-06-2014: Warm and Glassy, Many Lunge-feeding Humpbacks, Sea Lions, Birds and More
Epic fall conditions are here. October and November are by far the best time months for whale watching on The Monterey Bay.
It’s been warm, with little wind and glassy ocean conditions most of the day. We’ve had a couple of days where the chop picked up for a couple of hours during mid-day.
The afternoon trips have been my favorites lately. The lighting is spectacular. Sunsets from the water are remarkable.
Everything and everyone has this warm orange glow about them from the low in the sky sun reflecting off the ocean.
And then there is the marine life. We’ve been seeing many surface-feeding humpback whales. We’ve had some really solid vertical lunge-feeding. This is when one or more humpbacks chase a swarm of shallow anchovies from depth up out of the water.
It happens like this: We see a bubble blast, followed by a swarm of anchovies jumping out of the water and then the gaping jaws of the mighty humpback whale. Baleen, throat pleats and all.
We’ve also been seeing the orcas passing through randomly. But now is a good time to see the orcas. But we never know with them.
Over the last few days we’ve been seeing a lot of co-feeding going with the sea lions and humpback whales. Being in the middle of 200 sea lions and 10-15 humpback whales is intense experience. The noise and splashing of all the sea lions. The loud trumpet blows of 45′-50′ humpbacks blasting right next to the boat. The taste of a spout as an upwind humpback blasts 10′ upwind of the boat. It has a salty quality about it. Just incredible.
It should just keep getting better until the end of November.
09-22-2014 Humpback Action Continues to Amaze
We have had some truly epic days with hours of surface lunge feeding humpbacks this past week. Add the huge schools of long-beaked common dolphins to the mix and many of the trips have been over the top great. Just when you think the whales are going to settle down, then “POW” their activity levels go off the charts again. That describes this week’s trips. Some trips are action packed and others are good looks at many whales surfacing and fluking with a few breaches for excitement. It is an ebb and flow and that’s nature. This photo by intern Emma Levy shows a group of surface feeding humpbacks. My highlight was when nine whales emerged simultaneously.
09-12-2014: Fall Conditions Coming On, Lunge-feeding / Breaching Humpbacks, Common Dolphins, Sea Lions, Common Murres and more
The Monterey Bay never fails to amaze me. The productivity and diverse marine life is astounding. It all seems to come down to the anchovies. That’s what most of the birds, whales and sea lions are feeding on.
Pretty much since late March we have had massive schools of anchovies just outside our harbor in Moss Landing. So the whales have been within minutes of the harbor.
And that is still the case today. We had awesome, close-up looks at vertical, surface lunge-feeding humpbacks. Quite a spectacle. Particularly when they do it within 10 feet of the boat. Spectacular.
We’ve also been seeing a lot of breaching on all trips. There doesn’t seem to be any time of the day that is better than another.
Although, in the past, it seems like we’ve seen more breaching on the afternoon trips. As fall gets closer, I’m looking forward to those calm, afternoon-evening tours with epic sunsets and colorful sky. We should start to see more orcas as we get closer to October. We’ve already a few nice encounters.
We’ve also been seeing the long-beaked common dolphins pretty regularly over the last week.
And then there are the common murres. These are the single fathers of the bird world. After the chicks fledge the nest, the mother takes off and the father teaches the chick how to fish and survive in their watery world.
09-02-2014: Breaching Humpbacks and A Tail Slapping, Kelp Playing Young Humpback
The humpback whales continue feeding event just outside of Moss Landing Harbor. They’ve been coming and going within about a five mile area. We’re seeing spouts within a mile of leaving the harbor and all the way out to about 4-5 miles.
Most of the anchovies seem to be deep. So we’re also seeing some long dive cycles. But when they come up, it’s awesome. Especially if the sea lions getting in on the action.
We’ve been seeing these marauding bands of 150-200 sea lions feeding alongside the humpbacks.
It’s neat to hear all the splashing and commotion of 200 some-odd sea lions surfacing all at once followed by the loud blast of whale spouts surfacing next to the boat. It’s quite the multi-sensory experience.
08-31-2014: The Feed Frenzy Contnues: Humpbacks, Common Dolphins, Sea Lions, Pelicans, Terns and More
As has been the case since March, Moss Landing was the hotspot on The Monterey Bay again today with a serious humpback whale vertical lunge feeding frenzy.
We also had excellent bow-riding common dolphins. An incredible day just outside the Moss Landing Harbor.
In fact, over the last couple of days, we’ve seen humpbacks breaching at the Moss Landing Harbor-mouth. I’m talking within 50-yards of the north Jetty.
The Moss Landing Whale Park is going off.
08-29-2014: Breaching Humpback Calf, Close-in Lunge-feeding Humpbacks, Bottlenose Dolphin
The action just keeps on going just outside of Moss Landing Harbor. As has been the case almost daily since March, before we even left the harbor we were already seeing whales just outside the harbor-mouth.
And today a lot more whales moved closer in today. We had about 10 humpbacks between the harbor entrance and the MLA buoy less than a mile off the beach.
We did a little exploring and came across a breaching and tail-lobbing humpback whale calf. So that was fun.
But the real action continued to be inside just outside the harbor. On the way in we came across what were probably the same 10 some-odd humpbacks feeding together with about 150 California Sea Lions.
08/23/2014: Orcas, Breaching and Tail-lobbing Humpbacks, Bottlenose Dolphins and More
Today on the way in we came across a handful of Orcas. So that was a nice way to end the trip. The humpbacks just continue to feast on the abundant anchovies.
Over the last few weeks, the waters off of Moss Landing have been the site of an incredible humpback whale gathering and feeding event. We’ve pretty much had between 20-30 whales just outside the harbor and it seems to just keep on going.
We still continue to see humpbacks on the prowl within a mile or two of the harbor. We’ve also been seeing 200+ sea lions feeding along side the humpback whales. And then there is the breaching and tail-lobbing. On just about every trip we’re seeing breaches and/or tail-lobbing.
07-23-2014: Lunge-feeding and Breaching Humpbacks, Common Dolphins and Dalls Porpoise
Today it was the 10:00 AM that took the show. We haven’t seen common dolphins for a while. So it was nice when these common dolphins came buzzing through this large group of lunge-feeding humpbacks.
It was hard not to follow them right when they came through. But when you have 6-8 humpbacks lunge feasting with a large gang of marauding sea lions, you don’t leave. Then after about 20 minutes of surface-feeding hijinks, the humpbacks seemed to have had their fill for the moment.
It was a good thing for us that the common dolphins didn’t go far as they were feeding on other nearby schools of anchovies.
Our luck ran out for today’s afternoon trips. The wind whipped up hard and made the going ruff starting with the 3:00 PM trip. After trying to keep up with a continuously breaching mother and calf pair, we had to turn back because the chop and wind made it impossible to keep up.
But on the way in, we had probably the best series of close up breaches by another mother and calf just outside of the harbor mouth. We almost always see more breaching and acrobatics when the wind and chop pick up. And today was no different.
We could see explosions of white water happening all around. When the conditions get rough, I have to put my camera down and keep my hands on the wheel. I hate when I have to do that. But some of the passengers got some incredible breaching photographs as this mother and calf breached repeatedly about 20 yards from the boat.
The 5:00 pm trip ended up being a wild ride in challenging conditions. But we did get some excellent looks at bow riding Dall’s porpoise. But I had my hands full keeping the boat straight. What a difference a day makes.
07-21-2014: Mind Boggling Humpback Whale Feeding Frenzy Accelerates
Just unbelievable. It’s really hard to put into words what we’ve been seeing out in front of Moss Landing over the last few days. And I’m not one to be at a loss for words. The real action has been on our 5:00 PM trips. That seems to be when the feeding frenzy happens.
Today it kicked on a little late. We had a lot of surface lunges and breaching. But it really didn’t get crazy until about 7:00 PM. So we stayed an extra couple of hours and had the experience of a lifetime for most people. Including me. After an epic sunset and crazy lunge feeding fest, we finally pulled into the dock around 9:00 PM. It’s hard to leave when you have five-plus humpback whales simultaneously lunge-feeding right next to the boat. But we started loosing light and I couldn’t get anymore good photos. So that was that.
Alaska whale watching veterans are telling us they’ve never seen anything like this, even in the land of big nature Alaska. After coming out on our evening trips, veteran whale watchers and first timers alike are immediately booking trips the next day. It’s that intense.
“Sensory overload” as one passenger said the other day. It’s hard to imagine. These whales don’t even seem to know we’re there. Once the feeding frenzy begins, the whales just start popping up all around the boat doing these massive, vertical surface lunges.
We’ve also been seeing a lot of full breaches. The only thing that would make this better is if some orcas showed. Which we are due for by the way. It’s been over two weeks since we’ve had an orca encounter.
07-19-2014: Welcome To The Moss Landing Whale Park
I hereby designate the 200 yards outside of Moss Landing Harbor the Moss Landing Whale Park. I mean really.
There is no other area in the country (probably the world) where you can get close up looks of massive lunge feeding humpback whales right from shore. It is truly spectacle to behold.
We’re beginning to see a pattern. The feeding seems to be happening in the morning and late afternoon. Most of the big surface lunges seem to be after 3:00 PM to dark over the last few days. Plus the lighting is incredible.
07-16-2014 Humpbacks Feeding inside the Harbor Mouth
Today people were lining the beach and jetty doing whale watching from shore. We had humpbacks 25 yards off the beach today as well as actually inside the Moss Landing Harbor mouth.
It’s hard to imagine the incredible event that is going on right now. In fact, today it was humpback whales feeding pretty much inside the harbor! Just incredible. Moss Landing is likely the best place in the country (maybe the world) to observe these amazing humpback whales right now.
It’s pretty rare to watch humpback whales feeding alongside bottlenose dolphins. Bottlenose dolphins along the California coast are typically found just outside the surf zone. Well, that’s where the humpback whales of the Moss Landing Whale park are also feeding. Amazing.
If you plan on going whale watching on the Monterey Bay, Come to Moss Landing!. We are literally getting 4+ hours of face time with the whales. This seems to be the new normal for Moss Landing. It’s pretty much been like this since March.
Leaving out of anywhere else in the Monterey Bay, you’re getting 2-3 hours of travel time and little time whale watching. Because most of the whale watching boats are coming to Moss Landing as this is where the action is.
Truly remarkable. Plenty of room on our 08:00 AM trip tomorrow , Thursday.