09-03-2012 Humpbacks are Back In the Bay Big Time!

photo by John McCormack

The game is on for a krill and anchovy feeding frenzy inside the bay this past weekend. Wonderful humpback whales actively feeding near or at the surface, with breaches seen each day! Today, Labor Day, the humpbacks are only a few miles out from Moss and providing great behaviors to observe. On top of this great action, we had a last-minute Orca pod sighting right outside the Moss Landing Harbor Mouth on Saturday.

It has been a dramatic upswing in marine life feeding behavior recently, with many pelicans and shearwaters swarming and diving for fish as the whales stir up the water’s surface. It sure is great to have the bay come alive again. We have been treated to close-up surfacings, plenty of tail flukes and even some dramatic breaching. My favorite was a chronic tail-lobber in the late day sun off Point Pinos a few days back. Some trips are truly magical.

We wish they all were, but that is not nature’s way. Yesterday the fog came in for our 3 pm trip and prevented us from getting a good whale sighting. One fleeting fluke was seen, but at least we had some great Risso’s dolphins.

The Orca pod sighting was another magic moment. Just as we were all relaxing into our return to the harbor mouth after an awesome time with the humpbacks, what appears but the distinctive tall dorsal fin of a large male killer whale. It turned out to be a tight pod that circled about a mile outside the harbor entrance and gave us a few pretty good looks before we had to head in. This photo shows the large male. It is always a thrill to come upon these powerful predators.

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