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Monday, July 21, 2014


     We heard humpbacks had gathered at Moss Landing, fifteen miles south of us. Newspaper photo of a humpback breaching. We saw this happen several times.  

A neighbor told us migrating whales had followed huge schools of anchovies into Monterey Bay. We got up early today to check it out.
Sanctuary Cruises     As soon as we crested the beach ridge there they were, dozens 40-foot whales a half-mile offshore.  Looking across the horizon with binoculars their plumes looked like volcano eruptions one after another.
   In minutes several pods put on a show rolling and spouting.

   In several minutes we saw a whole show, the rolls, fluke slapping and vertical feeding surges.  Following the "round-outs" the big guys would throw up their ten-foot  tails as they dove.  It gets a 1000-feet deep here right away.
    We thought we had seen it all when we witnessed our first  breach. A young one, perhaps 30-feet long, shot out of the water entirely, spun on its axis, and crashed back into the sea.  
Kids call them "flying pickles".

  Later we were told that this what the teenagers do for fun.  
  A boat captain was quoted in the paper, "It's never been this good in the summer.  This could be the best place in the world right now to see humpbacks".
   Blue whales -twice as big- have been sighted in the bay this month as well.

   A local naturalists described being out in his kayak the previous day, seeing all this happen.  There were kayaks, paddle-boarders, and a few whale watch boats off shore as we stood with him on the beach  He said, "The whales seem aware of people and we're never put in danger.  I'm much more concerned about power boats running over my kayak".
    He went on to say one whale had risen up twelve-feet away and blown dead fish breath his way like a huge, rumbling raspberry, "It was incredible, something I'll never forget".
    Starting today with a bowlful of granola topped with whales is something I'll never forget. Not until tomorrow when we go again.
        Whales coming up with mouthfuls of anchovies.
  (Francesca and I are on the beach watching the show) Three humpback whales lunge-feed near Moss Landing State Beach on July 16. Humpbacks have been congregating near the mouth of Moss Landing Harbor to feast


  1. The youngsters are known to local whale watchers as "flying pickles".