8/10/22 “Lunge Feeding, Risso’s, & a Mighty Blue Whale”
Whale watching can be overwhelming, in both wonderfully positive and sometimes in more mixed ways. For many of our passengers it is their first time on the ocean, or even their first time on a boat at all. Simple things like walking around are can be a challenge. As we left Monterey harbor this morning, I looked around at the faces of our passengers and couldn’t quite tell if they were excited or engaged or not. I put the mic down and I did my usual rounds, asking each group if they had questions for me and making polite conversation, and then came our first whales.
We had a mother Humpback Whale and her calf napping to start off our sightings. The pair spent a lot of time at the surface and we got tall, graceful fluke up dives from Mom. After a couple of dives, many of our passengers had left the rails and taken their seats. I know that people enjoy these experiences in their own way and I did my best in between narrating to walk around asking people if they had any questions about the animals. No questions. We took a short ride to another group of lunge feeding whales. Again, after a few lunges many had taken their seats. I did more rounds, trying to gauge our guests engagement. With a few exceptions, still everyone seemed reserved.
We broke away from the feeding Humpbacks and made our way north. The sky became blue and the sea state improved slightly. Then, we joined Captain Kate on the High Seas who had many more whales feeding in a large area, with a couple hundred dolphins in the mix. At last, our passengers came to life. For nearly an hour we had people on the rails, taking videos, engaging with the crew, asking questions, and many more smiles to go around.
Everyday is different on the water. We don’t see dolphin everyday, but perhaps more importantly, we also take a different bunch of people out on the water each trip and they bring something unique with each of them. We are always rooting for our passengers to have the best time and we know a lot of that is out of our control. Who overslept or got stuck in traffic and had to rush to make it for check-in? Who is traveling from afar and still has jet lag? Whatever circumstances our passengers came from, we think we were able to deliver an amazing experience today.
-Naturalist Andrew B