04-14-2014: Feeding Humpbacks In Front of Moss Landing, 30+ Orcas Kill a Gray Whale

Likely one of the most incredible orca encounters we’ve ever had. Just remarkable. The day started out with anticipation. I got an early call from a fellow whale watching boat captain that he had a report of a large group of orcas making their way to toward Moss Landing at a high rate of speed from Point Pinos.

So we had the whole fleet keeping an eye out. But none of us ever found them. After an excellent day of humpback whales just outside the Moss Landing Harbor, we ended the trip and made our way to the dock.

Moss Landing Killer Whales

After a kill, orcas often become very playful. Breaching, tail slapping and generally very lively. Photo: Michael Sack, 04-14-2014

After the passengers left the boat and we were cleaning up, I happened to have the radio on and overheard a local researcher talking about a large pod of orcas not far from Moss Landing.

Moss Landing Killer Whales

These orcas would just start charging and launch out of the water. Just remarkable. Photo: Michael Sack, 04-14-2014.

Turns out that they were on a gray whale calf kill. So we quickly decided we were going to head back out and get in on the action. It was just me (captain Mike), Marine biologist and my partner Dorris Welch and Marine Biologist / Photographer Giancarlo Thomae. When we got on the scene, we were shocked.

Moss Landing Killer Whales

There were at least two young calves in this group. Here’s one of them. Photo: Michael Sack, 04-14-2014


There were orcas everywhere we looked. Confirmed to be over 30 orcas! Just remarkable. We stayed out until just before dark taking in this epic experience. Stay tuned for more more photos and video.

Moss Landing Killer Whales

Here’s another shot of one of the calves. Photo: Michael Sack, 04-14-2014.

About Michael Sack

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