03-21-2012: Humpbacks are Here! Large Numbers of Gray Whales All Around, Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Reports of Orcas and Excellent Weather Conditions

A humpback yearling shows us it's tail fluke before a dive with it's mother close behind. Photo: Sack, 03-21-2012

It looks like the Monterey Bay Humpback season is here. Today was the first day we really had lingering humpbacks that were coming up to the boat. And we could tell they were feeding close to the surface. Not quite full lunge feeding. But we did see a couple of surface lunges. They were giving us great surface times and nice tail flukes. We were with between four and eight today and we could see more around us. This is excellent news. The Krill was very thick on our sonar. The blue whales can’t be far behind.

This is very exciting. Today was the kickoff for the humpback season and there seems to be plenty of food for them. So we expect more to start showing up.

And then we had a small pod of Pacific White-sided dolphins buzz the boat and kind of cruise along with the humpbacks. What a remarkable day out there today.

And we haven’t seen this many gray whales in one trip. They were plentiful. We were with a train of about 5-6 on the way in that were also giving us great surface times and the occasional tail fluke.

And then there were brief reports of orcas. But no one really got any good looks. They seemed to be on the prowl and everyone was too distracted by the humpbacks to keep track of the orcas. The first real humpback encounter of the year is always an exciting experience. Sure, we’ve seen one or two over the last two weeks. But they’ve been pretty elusive and not really given us any good surface time. But today was a classic summer-time humpback encounter. Lingering humpbacks feeding on Krill.

Tomorrow will be interesting to see if the humpbacks are still in the area. Hopefully we find the orcas and they’ll be up to their old tricks.

We’re still waiting on gray whale cows and calves. This should also start to bring in more orcas. Whale watching on the Monterey Bay is starting to kick into high gear. Keep an eye on the weather or give us call if you want to know more.

About Michael Sack

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