06-26-2012: Blue Whales Show up in Big Numbers, a Fin Whale, Plenty of Humpbacks Including a Chronic Breacher

A Blue whale shows it's tail fluke before a dive. Three miles outside of Moss Landing. Photo: Sack, 06-26-2012

Today was one for the record books. I’ve never seen 10-15 blue whales hanging in out in one area. Just remarkable. We noticed the first unmistakable blue whale blast-like spout about three miles outside of the Moss Landing Harbor. Then they just started appearing all around us. Usually we’re lucky to see one or two blue whales. They are generally somewhat solitary. But today was quite different.

All this heavy Northwest wind activity and bright sunlight has created some massive krill swarms. Blue whale food you might say. And the word appears to out amongst the krill consuming baleen cetaceans. Monterey Bay is the hot-spot for a quick krill feast.

It was amazing to see so many blue whales within about a 1/2 mile area. Then many more suspected blue whale spouts over a two mile diameter from our position. We estimate that there were at least twenty or more blue whales within a three mile area from where we were and we also heard reports of more blue whales to the south. This is excellent news and quite a treat so be in the midst of such a large concentration of the largest animal to ever roam the earth. Very cool.

The chronic breacher. This animal would not stop launching. It did this at least 25 times within about an hour long period. Just remarkable. Photo: Sack, 06-26-2012.

Then there were the humpbacks. At least 8-10 in the same area feeding alongside the blues. The humpbacks were also breaching in the distance. So we picked on that seemed to be particularly active and headed in that direction. What a show. Holy mackerel. This one particular humpback that we decided we would hang with just wouldn’t stop breaching. This animal didn’t stop breaching for nearly an hour. It was like clockwork. The animal would give us semi-deep dive tail fluke and then within a minute or two would come launching out of the water. This just kept happening over and over again. We had to have seen at least twenty-five full breaches. Probably more. Just remarkable.

And then there was the fin whale. We didn’t get that great of looks, but we were able to see it’s lighter coloring on the side and it’s unmistakable raked dorsal fin. It looks kind of like a dolphin.

Mix in some beautiful, calm sunny conditions and you get a classic Sanctuary Cruises whale watching experience.

About Michael Sack

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