01-23-2013: Incredible Marine Conditions, Great Looks at Grays, Common Dolphins and Orcas

We’ve had perfect weather over the last couple of weeks. Little to no swell, glassy ocean surface and warm sunny skies. Winter whale watching doesn’t get whole lot better.

We’ve been having some amazing looks large groups of gray whales. We call them “mega-pods”. Usually we see the gray whales traveling either solo or in small scattered groups of two or three.

Gray Whales

Gray whales move along as they make their way south to their breeding and calving grounds in Baja. Photo: Sack. 01-21-2013

We love it when we come across a “mega-pod”. It’s quite a sight to behold when a group of 10-12 gray whales start surfacing, blowing and throwing up their tail flukes in together.

Risso's Dolphin

Risso’s Dolphin breaches next to the boat. Photo: Sack. 01-20-2013

And then there are the dolphins. The common dolphins tend to be acrobatic. But we also see the Risso’s dolphins giving it an attempt with a head slap. We had a group of about 200 common dolphins chase the boat, jumping out of the water behind us in our wake and then jumping out of the water in front of the bow. What a spectacular sight.

Common Dolphin

A long-beaked common dolphin jumps out of the water as it follows alongside the boat. Photo: Sack 01-22-2013

The orcas have been coming and going. But we’ve been seeing the same two regularly over the last couple of weeks. Most recently we followed a lone male almost to Carmel Beach and then along Point Lobos. The background scenery in the Carmel Bay is breathtaking.

About Michael Sack

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