07-21-2014: Mind Boggling Humpback Whale Feeding Frenzy Accelerates

Moss Landing Humpback Whale

Epic lighting, epic ocean conditions and humpback whales in a surface feeding frenzy. Photo: Michael Sack, 07-21-2014.

Just unbelievable. It’s really hard to put into words what we’ve been seeing out in front of Moss Landing over the last few days. And I’m not one to be at a loss for words. The real action has been on our 5:00 PM trips. That seems to be when the feeding frenzy happens.

Moss Landing Humpback Whales

As we were making our way in, we stopped for a bit to see what these whales were up to. The next thing we knew, the frenzy was on. These whales did this repeatedly within 10-yards of the boat. Incredible. Photo: Michael Sack, 07-21-2014.

Today it kicked on a little late. We had a lot of surface lunges and breaching. But it really didn’t get crazy until about 7:00 PM. So we stayed an extra couple of hours and had the experience of a lifetime for most people. Including me. After an epic sunset and crazy lunge feeding fest, we finally pulled into the dock around 9:00 PM. It’s hard to leave when you have five-plus humpback whales simultaneously lunge-feeding right next to the boat. But we started loosing light and I couldn’t get anymore good photos. So that was that.

Moss Landing Humpback Whales

It just kept on going. But as the light faded and the sun went down, we had to make our way back to the harbor. Notice the color of the pectoral fin sticking out of the water on the right. Under the normal lighting, those are white. Here we can see the warm glow of the sunset reflecting off of the whale’s pectoral fin. Photo: Michael Sack, 07-21-2014.

Alaska whale watching veterans are telling us they’ve never seen anything like this, even in the land of big nature Alaska. After coming out on our evening trips, veteran whale watchers and first timers alike are immediately booking trips the next day. It’s that intense.

Moss Landing Humpback Whales

This little fella breached at least 50 times. After looking at this photograph, it made me think that this calf was breaching next to the boat to get a look at us. I blew up the photo and his eye is looking straight at me. Photo: Michael Sack, 07-21-2014.

“Sensory overload” as one passenger said the other day. It’s hard to imagine. These whales don’t even seem to know we’re there. Once the feeding frenzy begins, the whales just start popping up all around the boat doing these massive, vertical surface lunges.

We’ve also been seeing a lot of full breaches. The only thing that would make this better is if some orcas showed. Which we are due for by the way. It’s been over two weeks since we’ve had an orca encounter.

About Michael Sack

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