Moss Landing Humpback Whales

Humpbacks surface lunge-feeding. Photo: Michael Sack,

Epic fall conditions are here. October and November are by far the best time months for whale watching on The Monterey Bay.

Moss Landing Humpback Whales

Aggressive lunge-feeding humpback just outside of Moss Landing Harbor. Photo Michael Sack,, 10-03-2014.

It’s been warm, with little wind and glassy ocean conditions most of the day. We’ve had a couple of days where the chop picked up for a couple of hours during mid-day.

Moss Landing Humpback Whales

Feeding humpbacks on the home stretch before they begin to head south in late November. Photo: Michael Sack,, 10-03-2014.

The afternoon trips have been my favorites lately. The lighting is spectacular. Sunsets from the water are remarkable.

Moss Landing Humpback Whales

The feeding frenzy continues. Photo: Michael Sack,, 10-03-2014.

Everything and everyone has this warm orange glow about them from the low in the sky sun reflecting off the ocean.

Moss Landing Humpback Whales

Warm and glassy conditions just outside the Moss Landing Harbor. Surface feeding humpbacks. It doesn’t get much better than this. Photo: Michael Sack,, 10-03-2014.

And then there is the marine life. We’ve been seeing many surface-feeding humpback whales. We’ve had some really solid vertical lunge-feeding. This is when one or more humpbacks chase a swarm of shallow anchovies from depth up out of the water.

Moss Landing Sea Lion

This sea lion was able to snag itself a skate. Photo: Michael Sack,, 10-06-2014.


Moss Landing Ray

This skate was getting tossed around by the sea lion. Photo: Michael Sack, 10-06-2014.

It happens like this: We see a bubble blast, followed by a swarm of anchovies jumping out of the water and then the gaping jaws of the mighty humpback whale. Baleen, throat pleats and all.

Moss Landing Humpback Whales

Tail-lobber right behind the boat. Photo: Michael Sack,, 10-06-2014.

We’ve also been seeing the orcas passing through randomly. But now is a good time to see the orcas. But we never know with them.

Moss Landing Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine falcon lands on a mast at “A” Dock a couple of boats down from the Sanctuary. Photo: Michael Sack,, 10-06-2014.

Over the last few days we’ve been seeing a lot of co-feeding going with the sea lions and humpback whales. Being in the middle of 200 sea lions and 10-15 humpback whales is intense experience. The noise and splashing of all the sea lions. The loud trumpet blows of 45′-50′ humpbacks blasting right next to the boat. The taste of a spout as an upwind humpback blasts 10′ upwind of the boat. It has a salty quality about it. Just incredible.


Moss Landing Humpback Whales

These humpbacks can’t seem to get enough. Photo: Michael Sack,, 10-03-2014.

It should just keep getting better until the end of November.

Moss Landing Humpback Whales

The giant throat pleats of the mighty humpback whale. Photo: Michael Sack,, 10-03-2014.

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