The first time you go whale watching in Monterey Bay is something you’ll never forget. The way the fog threatens to completely overwhelm you when you first head off from the dock; The awesome scale of this thing called a “bay;” And the whales. So. Many. Whales!
I’ve seen humpback whales before. I’ve even been lucky enough to see many of them at once but my first day out on the water in Monterey was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. We must have seen 30 or 40 humpbacks! I never knew where to look! Coming from British Columbia I was used to travelling for hours before seeing any cetaceans so I was amazed when we had only been travelling for five minutes and our naturalist yelled, “Humpback at 2 o’clock!”
There were dozens of humpbacks all spread out alone or in pairs, seemingly uninterested in each other even though they could clearly see each other. One of the most interesting whales we came across had a visible back deformity. It’s tail seemed to be coming out at a very odd angle from it’s back. We heard from our naturalist that this individual had scoliosis, a back deformation I also suffer from. I started to think about all of the ways that the whale would be impacted by this but quickly I just ended up appreciating the pain relief that I know I feel when I’m floating weightless in the water. I’m sure it’s not that easy for the whale!
I couldn’t possibly remember everything I saw that day, or everything I learned but I remember being crazy impressed that our naturalist seemed to have a story for each animal we encountered. I would love to read some of her Whale Tales one day!