10-11-2012 Playful Orcas for Hours, Squirting Squid and Frolicking Rissos Dolphins

This week has been really fun. Today we were with seven very playful Orcas for several hours. This particular pod of killer whales is one we love to encounter as they often show off for us. Today we had multiple breaches quite close to the boat, a cool close-up spyhop, lots of belly views and so many tail slaps we couldn’t count. They did an awesome swim-by, going right under the bow of the boat so passengers could look down into the water and see them below. Spending this amount of time with such an active group of orcas is what we live for out there. It was truly magical. Orcas have been spotted every two-three days these past few weeks in or near Monterey Bay. Now is definitely the right time to maximize your chances of viewing Orcas.

Each day is different out there and two days ago it was the “dolphin day”. A large pod of Risso’s dolphins were playing only a quarter mile from the Moss Landing Harbor mouth. What a delight. This pod was very active with a great deal of head slaps, tail slaps and even some clear leaps.

We finally left them (which was hard to do) to find whales, which we sure did. They were long divers and far from playful. But we hung with these humpback whales for long enough for all to get good looks, even though we had to play cat and mouse with their zig-zag dive patterns.

To complete the day we had a real mystery: squirts of water shooting right straight up in the air. Perplexed, we approached closely and deducted they were Humboldt squid swarming near the surface. These large squid enter Monterey Bay during warm water events and are voracious predators. Squid use jet propulsion to swim, so the squirts of water were coming from their siphons as they shot water out to move forward. We could see the squid swimming by which was a rare treat. Everyday there is a new surprise out there!

About Michael Sack

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