Moss Landing Killer Whales

These killer whales had just made a kill. We didn’t see it happen or didn’t witness a chase. So we think it could have been an elephant seal. Photo: Michael Sack, 11-16-2014.

I knew we were off to a good start when I received a radio report of killer whales on the prowl just a few miles from the Moss Landing Harbor.

Moss Landing Killer Whales

When orcas are on a kill they stop travelling and circle around the area. Some times jumping out of the water and carrying on with tail slaps, and upside down surface surges. It makes for fantastic orca viewing. Photo: Michael Sack, 11-16-2014.

Moss Landing Killer Whales

Often when we see the killer whales, they on the move or on the hunt. That can be challenging viewing. We were lucky today. They were just circling around us for a couple of hours. Photo: Michael Sack, 11-16-2014.

Moss Landing Killer Whales

At one point, one of the large females swam by our boat with what looked like intestines coming out of each side of its mouth. Photo: Michael Sack, 11-16-2014.
Moss Landing Killer Whales

We often can tell the killer whales have gotten something by seeing all the birds hovering and diving into the water picking up bits something. Photo Michael Sack, 11-16-2014.

Moss Landing Humpback Whales

This was one of the most remarkable humpbacks encounters we’ve had. There had to be at least 15 whales all feeding right next to each other with about 200 sea lions. and it’s just a few miles from Moss Landing. Amazing. Photo: Michael Sack, 1116-2014.

But we took our time as we came across a chronic breacher. This whale just kept launching. Maybe 10-15 times as we approached. Of course as we got closer it decided to move on and stopped jumping.

Moss Landing Humpback Whales

The whales have been moving in and out anywhere between the harbor mouth about 6-miles out. Photo: Michael Sack, 11-16-2014.

So we decided to move on as well toward where the killer whales were. By this time I could see the other boats with the orcas slowly making their way in our direction. So things were looking good for getting in on some orca action.

Moss Landing Humpback Whales

We even had a few surface lunges. Photo: Michael Sack, 11-16-2014.

Moss Landing Humpback Whales

This was the same whale that would randomly breach every now and again. Here the whale is “peck slapping”. Photo: Michael Sack, 11-16-2014

This turned out to be an excellent orca encounter. But the sheer number of whales feeding together with the large number of sea lions is an incredible experience. At one point, we had the whole lot of them in coming directly at us.

Moss Landing Humpback Whales

More “peck slapping”. Photo: Michael Sack, 11-16-2014.

It was like being in the path of a stampede of massive animals. The splashing of sea lions, the loud blasts of 10-15 whales coming within 20 yards and closing and then disappearing as they move past the stern and under the boat. Living the dream.

 

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