07-04-2015: Humpbacks Getting Lively in Front of Moss Landing

Moss Landing Humpback Whale

All was quiet with a couple of long-diving humpbacks when this one started repeatedly tail-lobbing and tail-slapping. Photo: Michael Sack, www.sanctuarycruises.com 07-03-2015

It amazes me how different each trip can be. Even more so, how different each minute of each trip  can be. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to what goes down out there. Nature and her behaviors are unpredictable.

Moss Landing Elephant Seal

We came across this elephant seal as we were searching for more whales. Photo: Michael Sack, 07-04-2015


To us a lot of the behaviors we see seem random. Like breaching, tail-lobbing, pectoral fin slapping or friendly behavior. Today was a good example: On one of our trips, we had been waiting for a single humpback to come up from a dive. This animal was doing some long dives and then staying up for only a few blows and then down again. I’m talking a 7-10 minute whale. That’s what we call a ten-minute whale. When they’re doing 7-10 minute dive cycles. After a couple of ten-minute dive-cycles, I usually head out and look for greener pastures. I mean a guy can only take so much.

Entangled Humpback Whale

Unfortunately, this humpback became entangled in crab trap gear. We stayed with this animal until another boat could got on the scene to stay with it until the Whale Entanglement team out of Moss Landing to get out there and try and untangle the animal. As of July 4, 2015, the animal was reported to be off of Point Sur south of Monterey. Photo: Michael Sack, 07-03-2015.

And after this whale’s second dive, I waited for about 5-minutes before I started to head out. Just as I was about to put it in gear, this massive animal launches itself completely out of the water. Then it continued to carry on at the surface slapping it’s pectoral fin against the water and rolling around and generally staying at the surface with short dive-cycles. Then after about 30-40 minutes of this, the animal just seem to leave. The rascal gave us the slip.

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