7-2-21 “Great Looks, Occasional Lunge Feeds, & Some Belting Sea Shanties”
On Tuesday morning, with Rod our Captain, and Fredo the crewmember, we took off into a foggy Monterey Bay. The Pacifica took us out to sea until we hit the edge of the Monterey Bay Submarine Canyon. We continued, seeing more birds and sea lions, a great sign there was food in the area. Knowing we were getting closer, we all were on high alert. Finally we spotted Risso’s dolphins, just five of them at first, but as we continued through the fog, we saw more and more of them. This pod was extremely spread out. After seeing 50 or so, we turned back toward Monterey, as we’d heard some reports of whale sightings.
Just 2 miles outside the Monterey harbor, we found them. There were 4 humpback whales, feeding alongside 300 sea lions, hundreds of western gulls, California brown pelicans, and sooty shearwaters. All of these animals were feeding on the same massive school of anchovies. We watched the whales and sea lions dive and resurface, while the birds waited patiently for the fish to return to the surface. We got an awesome show from these animals, but we were close to our time limit. Captain Rod took us straight toward the beach hoping we’d run into another species, and he nailed it! By a stroke of luck 3 coastal bottlenose dolphins surfaced next to the boat and began bow riding! We stayed with these dolphins for 15 minutes before calling it a trip.
Tuesday’s afternoon trip was also spectacular! The fog had cleared and we had a brilliant sunny day. We’d gotten some exciting reports, so naturally headed toward them. We showed up to a spectacle, a small pod of orca killing a sea lion! We’d missed most of the action, but we saw some big splashes and a couple tail throws. After the orca had calmed down, we left them in the search for other species. We saw lots of scattered humpback whales, and came across a lunge feeding humpback as our grand finale.
Writing and Photos by Fredo