Today was day we'd booked to go on an 8-hour whale watching trip with Monterey Bay Whale Watch
, owned & run by marine biologist Nancy Black. We had to leave the hotel before breakfast was served so took cereal bars as well as sandwiches etc for lunch.
The main aim of this all day trip was to find and follow killer whales so Nancy & crew could gather further data on them. We headed out past sea otters in the harbour and sea lions on the harbour wall towards Monterey Canyon to begin our search. We soon encountered humpback whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins and Risso's dolphins but no orcas yet....
The Sea Wolf II can apparently hold 69 passengers, but there can't have been more than 20 people on board so there was plenty of space to move around. Although a little group of 5 of us stayed at the bow most of the, 3 of us pretty much continually excpet when we were told to sit down so they could take the boat faster! One of the best bits was then several white-sided dolphins where bow surfing whist we were hanging over the bow overhead.
After several hours searching along the
rift we finally heard over the radio that another boat had spotted some so we headed off at full speed towards that area. Luckily the orcas were still in the area so we, & several other boats got to get a look at them. The other boats were all morning only tours though so soon turned away. We on the other hand proceeded to follow the orcas for severall more hours as they hunted along the rift & far into the bay near Moss Landing. We kept losing them for a while then spotting them and racing to catch up, Chavaunne is amazing at spotting whales, even among the several whitecaps which were by now forming on the waves. They eventually turned seawards and caught a sea lion near the boat - there was blood on the water behind us. At this point a few nearby humpback whales got angry at the orcas and began trumpeting and chasing the orcas around the boat & then out to sea. One humpback came up and trumpeted right next to the boat where I was standing! Amazing! We followed then for a while longer but they were moving at a good speed and
eventally left us behind.
The pod we were following was CA15 aka 'the friendly pod' made up of mother Star and her sons Orion and Bumper and young daughter Comet. They're the most often encountered pod, often coming close to boats and in Bumper's case bumping into them! As well as this pod the tally for the day was 20 humpback whales, 150 Risso's and 200 Pacific white-sided dolphins.
Once back on dry land we got some hot chocolate, walked to the supermarket then returned to Fisherman's Wharf for some tasty fish and chips then back to the hotel for wine and fresh mango.
I also got lots of videos of the dolphins, humpbacks and of course the orcas:
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