06-16-2013: Another Epic Day, Lunge Feeding Blue Whales, A Leatherback Turtle and Northern Fur Seal

Leather-back turtle

This is the first leather-back turtle of the year. This one was about 4′-5′ long. A little early, but we’ll take it. Photo: Sack, 06-16-2013.

Today was another one of those incredible days that we never forget. We’ve been seeing lunge-feeding blue whales and humpbacks for the last few days. We don’t see this often. It’s particularly nice since they have been just outside of our harbor in Moss Landing for the last few days. We were on them within about 20 minutes from leaving the harbor. So that is always good.

Leather-turtle, Monterey Bay.

Passengers aboard Sanctuary get a close-up look at a leather-back. For most people, this is a once in a lifetime experience. Photo: Thomae, 06-16-2013.

There was abundance of krill just outside of Moss Landing today as well. We were able to collect some nice specimens for a krill researcher that we work with up at the University of California Santa Cruz. They were all over the surface today.

After about an hour of checking out these blue whales feasting on the abundant krill and circling around the boat, we decided to head out to where we had a massive humpback feeding event yesterday. You know, just to get a little variety.

Surface Lunge feeding blue whale just outside of Moss Landing. Photo: Thomae, 06-16-2013.

Surface Lunge feeding blue whale just outside of Moss Landing. Photo: Thomae, 06-16-2013.

Unfortunately, the wind picked up solid by the time we got on the scene. We also only found a couple of humpbacks. We’re not sure where they all went. We were in the same area where we had 20+ the day before. But could only find a couple of spouts and the rough conditions made it difficult to track them. So we had to abandon that idea.

blue whale, Monterey Bay

Blue whale on the prowl just outside of Moss Landing. Photo: Sack, 06-16-2013.

The prize of the day for us was to see our first leather-back turtle of the year. It’s actually kind of early for the leather-backs. Especially since we haven’t been seeing large concentrations of jellies. Usually their diets consist of mainly of jellies. We usually see them more in August. So this was a nice early surprise and we had some excellent views.

Northern fur seal

Northern Fur seal hanging with the blue whales. Photo: Sack, 06-16-2013.

We also had some really nice looks at a northern fur seal.

About Michael Sack

Boat Captain, Monterey Bay marine life naturalist and guide. Photographer and Videographer.
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