After a slowing trend in whale activity this past week, it picked up today. We estimate 100breaches in the bay with lots of pec slapping today. Dolphins too.
There were about 10 humpbacks breaching and carrying on with other hijinks. Photo: Chace Dekker, Sanctuary Cruises, 10-15-2015.
As we left the harbor today the wind started to whip up and put some chop on the water. Luckily, there wasn’t a lot sea with it. But a pesky little chop did made for a little rocking and rolling. After about 10-minutes of running, we came across two mola molas. Also known as the giant ocean sunfish. They were floating there right next to each other as a sea lion seemed to be circling around them. Circled a few times and got some great looks of these odd creatures and continued on.
This was during our photo workshop tour earlier in the week. We had perfect lighting, spectacular sunset. Photo: Chace Dekker, Sanctuary Cruises, 10-13-2015.
A few minutes later as we were heading to the west, we started noticing blows another mile or so out. So we made a course headed in that direction. Soon we also could see “dolphin water”. Dolphins will create a break in the surface water pattern. It usually looks like a lot of little splashes from a distance.
What an incredible afternoon / evening whale watch. Sunset really did look like that. Amazing. Photo: Chace Dekker, Sanctuary Cruises, 10-13-2015.
We had excellent looks at these common dolphins as they leveraged the energy in our wake behind, along side and in front of the boat. After about 10-15 minutes of cruising with the dolphins, we noticed a massive breach about 300 yards from us so we slowed and focused out attention on where the whale just breached.
The feeding continues. Photo: Michael Sack, Sanctuary Cruises, 10-09-2015.
The next thing we knew, we were in the middle of about 10-whales that began to full-breach, pectoral fin slap and tail-lob around us. This was one of the more spectacular encounters we’ve seen. These animals were active. And it was a lot of them. There was even one animal that tail-lobbed so close it got some of the passengers wet.
This was a full-on feeding frenzy for about two hours. Photo: Michael Sack, 10-09-2015.
So the action just continues right out in front of Moss Landing.
The activity patterns of our local feeding humpbacks keep us guessing. Today’s trips were filled with breaches, pec slapping and tail lobbing. Yesterday we had sleepy whales in the morning along with great bow riding common dolphins and then surface lunge feeding and breaching, slapping whales in the afternoon. This week we’ve noticed that the whales are more scattered and tend to be cruising around in smaller groups of only 2-3 whales. Their activity varies from very active to quite sleepy with longer dives. Our sense is that the schools of anchovies are not as dense, so the whales are working a bit harder to fill their bellies. However, usually at least once a day we are lucky to locate large groups of cooperative feeding whales at the surface. The classic “surface lunge feeding” events are truly a sight to behold. They arise straight upwards with their enormous throat pouches bulging out and filled with anchovies.
We’ve started offering afternoon photography cruises lasting four plus hours into the dusk. The lighting is great and the behaviors tend to be more exciting at this time of day.