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!

About Michael Sack

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