09-24-2017: Incredible Lunge-feeding Event for Afternoon Trip, Nice Conditions All Day Long, Beautiful Sunset

Lunge-feeding Humpback Whale
Two humpback whales lunge-feed together. Off Moss Landing. Photo: Sack, 09-24-2017 www.sanctuarycruises.com

Check some awesome video from today’s trip

Fall conditions are really setting in. We had incredible conditions all day long today. On the 02:00 pm trip we were lucky enough to get on a handful of humpbacks that were engaged in some serious surface feeding behavior.

Lunge-feeding Monterey Bay Whale
More lunge-feeding. These animals were doing this every 3-5 minutes for about an hour. Incredible encounter. Photo: Michael Sack, www.sanctuarycruises.com 09-24-2017

These things were coming up every 3-5 minutes with their mouths wide open. We call this vertical lunge-feeding. This is when these 45-foot long humpback whales chase schools of anchovies up out of the water with their gaping mouths wide open.

Monterey Bay Risso's Dolphins
Risso’s dolphins cruising. Photo: Michael Sack, www.sanctuarycruises.com 09-24-2017

We also had great looks at Risso’s dolphins and common dolphins. We haven’t seen the common dolphins for weeks. So that was great to see them together with the Risso’s dolphins.

Monterey Bay Lunge-feeding Humpback Whale
Here they go again. Photo: Sack.

It’s quite a spectacle. They will usually expose their baleen, the roof of their mouth (palate) and their massive, pinkish throat pleats that are usually laden with barnacles. Their baleen is that finger nail and hair-like structure that hangs down from their upper jaw. They use it like a sieve to filter out fish and krill from the sea water when they lunge-feed.

Monterey Bay Humpback whales on the prowl
Monterey Bay Humpback whales on the prowl. Photo: Sack
Sunset Aboard The Sanctuary
We’ve been having some incredible sunsets in Moss Landing lately. I love the Fall here. Photo: Sack

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