Humpbacks Close to Shore – 4/8/19

On our first trip of the day we headed through the fog to the south. Near Mussel Rock we stopped to see a mola mola (ocean sunfish). While watching the sunfish, we spotted a whale ahead of us. It was moving west and doing frequent fluke dives. As we approached, the water deepened from 40 feet to 56 feet.

As we moved west two more humpback whales appeared. One of the two was CRC-16391 “Gator”, a familiar whale here in the Bay Area.

It’s possible that the first whale we saw and the other adult were a cow-calf pair. We spent about 30 minutes with the animals.
On our next trip we returned to the same spot, where we had five humpback whales feeding near some fishermen.

We saw lunge feeding and body rolls from these animals, although few fluke dives.


One of the whales we spotted was Gator, who had been feeding in the area earlier in the day. A different whale came within 25 yards of the boat. The whales were in about 50 feet of water, but were relatively close to the shoreline.

There were also lots of murres with their chicks in the area.

On our final trip of the day we headed back to Mussel Rock and again found five humpbacks feeding in the area. The whales were within a few hundred yards of the beach, and we could see people walking along the shore.

They lunge fed multiple times all around the boat. There was a huge shoal of anchovy between us and the beach that the whales herded and fed on throughout the trip.


They came within 100 yards of the boat several times. For most of the trip we just idled in the area and watched as the whales swam around us.

We also spotted some fluke dives from these animals. The way home was very wet, but it was worth it!

-Allison

This post was adapted from a blog, read the original here

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