08-06-2013: Near Perfect Conditions Continue, Humpbacks Five Minutes Out, Massive Flocks of Sooty Shearwaters, Anchovies, Lunge-Feeding Humpbacks, Calm Glassy Conditions

Moss Landing Humpback Whale

The sea lions seemed to be harassing the humpbacks. They would follow the humpbacks in packs. Photo: Michael Sack, 08-04-2013.

I can’t remember a better stretch of outstanding whale watching and perfect marine conditions. So good we’ve been doing two trips per day and getting in at least 3+ hours of face time with the mighty but agile humpback whale.

Moss Landing Humpback Whale

A massive humpback does a surface lunge feed and it comes up on a school of anchovies. Photo: Michael Sack, 08-03-2013.

It gives us a chance to explore. Maybe find a leatherback turtle like the one below.

 

Moss Landing Leatherback turtle

We came across another jelly eating leatherback turtle. Photo: Giancarlo Thomae, 08-06-2013.

For the last few weeks we’ve been spotting blows before we’re even out of the harbor. So it’s nice to be on the whales within the first 10 minutes of a four-hour trip. We’ve also been finding Risso’s dolphins a little further out.

Moss Landing Risso's Dolphin

A mother Risso’s dolphin shows it’s newborn calf the ways of the Monterey Bay. Photo: Giancarlo Thomae.

But best show has been the humpbacks. We’ve been seeing lunge feeding, full-breaching, tail lobbing and a lot more.

Moss Landing Humpback Whale

A humpback whale completes a surface lunge just outside of the Moss Landing Harbor. Notice the cormorant getting some of the leftovers. Photo: Michael Sack, 08–04.

We’ve also been seeing Mola Molas, the occasional young female elephant seal and the occasional wayward northern fur seal.

Breaching Moss Landing Humpback

And then there was all the breaching. Photo: Chase Dekker, 08-02-2013.

So far the incredible conditions are holding and the whales are here en mass. And they’ve been very active. Breaching and tail-lobbing. Just amazing.

 

About Michael Sack

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