06-24-2012: Epic Conditions, Friendly Humbacks, Cow and Calf Humpbacks, Breaching Humpbacks and Risso’s Dolphins

Another whale of a day aboard the Sanctuary. Warm sunshine, flat seas, and little wind made for outstanding conditions.

And it’s a good thing. Because we had to cover some water and spend some time to find the whales today. We didn’t get on the whales until two hours into the trip. Sometimes that’s the way it goes. And when we did find a whale, the animal wasn’t what we would call the most cooperative whale. A bit elusive in fact.

After about 15-minutes we realized this wasn’t going to be a whale we wanted to watch. Fortunately, we had reports of other whales not far from our location. After we got on the scene and a couple of the other boats left, the humpbacks made their way over to the boat.

Next thing we knew, they were circling the boat and observing us from under the water. This is what we call friendly behavior. The clear water and bright sun made observing these gentle giants a delight.

The animals kept swimming under the boat and frolicking about within five feet of us. When they spouted our hair flew up. The spouts had a krill after-taste you might say, confirming our suspicion that these leviathans were feeding on the small shrimp like animals.

There were also about twenty five pacific white sided dolphins swimming right next to the boat trying to steal our attention from the friendly humpbacks.

After the whales left us with an encounter we will never forget we found a mother and calf humpback. The calf breached (jumped out of the water) numerous times while the mother slapped her powerful tail fluke on the ocean surface repeatedly. Then they dove together into the abyss showing both of their tails and that was the end of that. By this time, we were getting to the 4-hour mark. So it was time to start making our way back toward Moss and maybe find some orcas or dolphins on the way in.

Sure enough, after about 20-minutes of running we came across more than twenty Risso’s dolphins. Another remarkable day on the Monterey Bay. Now is the time to get out and check some awesome variety of species. We’re also seeing blue whales and fin whales pretty regularly.

Thanks to our awesome naturalist / soon-to-be marine biologist Giancarlo Thomae for contributing to this report.

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