07-04-2013: The Motherlode Moves North, Great Looks at a Mola Mola

Blue whale

Friendly blue whale does a drive by. Photo: Chase Dekker, 07-04-2013.

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.

Humpback Whale

Humpback does a surface lunge as it turns over and shows us it’s pectoral fin. Photo: Chase Dekker, 07-04-2013.

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.

Humpback Whale

Humpback Whale cruising. Photo: Chase Dekker, 07-04-2013.

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.

About Michael Sack

Boat Captain, Monterey Bay marine life naturalist and guide. Photographer and Videographer.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *