05-27-2012: Humpbacks All Over, our First Fin Whale Sighting of the Year

Humpback whales continue to "lunge feed" about four miles West of Moss Landing, CA. Photo: Welch, 05-29-2012

Over the last week we had some of our best wind events of the year. 20-30 knot winds and 5′-7’+ wind waves stirs the The Bay up just right for krill blooms. Those strong northwesterly winds are what bring the upwelling. And it just gets better and better from there. Especially when we also have some full days of sun. The result is what have been seeing out there over the last few days.

The humpbacks are here and they continue to feast on the abundant shallow krill swarms. We could see blows all around our general area about four miles outside of Moss Landing.

We like it when it’s like that. We just kind of go from pod to pod and find the most interesting group. Lately the humpbacks have been lunge feeding on most of our trips. Like today for example. We found three of them that were continuously coming up with their open mouths and bulging throat pleats. Continuous lunge feeding. Very nice. We stayed with these three animals for almost two hours.

Meanwhile, we kept noticing a very large, tall blow a mile or so to our West. The blows were larger and taller than most of the humpback blows we’ve been seeing. So we’re thinking we might have our blue or fin whale. So we went to investigate. As we got closer, we realized it was a fin whale. These are very large animals. This one was likely between 75′-80′. The fin whale is second in size amongst whales only by it’s close relative the blue whale.

This whale surfaced close enough to provide all with excellent views of the very long grayish back and tall distinctive dorsal fin. And it’s blow was over twenty feet tall! This was a thrill. The presence of a fin whale means that we will likely start seeing blue whales any day now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *