2023 Spring All Day Trip #1 Recap
Day 1: April 21st 2023
We were so excited to get back out on the water with you all! The weather and sea conditions were pretty typical for Monterey Bay in April. The morning started with light haze that cleared to sunny skies overhead. The sea conditions were a little bumpy throughout the morning and increased as the wind picked up later in the trip as we were headed home.
In the harbor we had great views of Southern sea otters, California sea lions, harbor seals, cormorants and gulls. After we passed by the haul out of sea lions a few of them were startled by a construction worker and jumped off the pier - which was about a 9ft drop at low tide.
Our first whales were only a few miles outside of the harbor. A nice gathering of humpbacks and large rafts of California sea lions were feeding in about a 2 mile radius over the head of the Monterey submarine canyon. After enjoying the whales and sea lions for awhile we continued offshore.
Our next whale we stopped on was Aria! The calf of Fran from last season. We knew that she had been sighted earlier in the week much to everyone's relief after an 8 month disappearance. We had been hoping to see her ourselves. If you are not familiar with the story of Fran's death you can read about it on our blog or listen to Episode 123 of the podcast. She looked like she was feeding and she was in good body condition. She had found a way to survive the winter. We hope to see her for many years to come.
In the same area as Aria were a few more humpback whales and a mom and calf pair of gray whales. We didn't stay with the gray whales long since they were attempting to cross the middle of the bay - which is very stressful for them.
We continued further off shore where there had been more humpbacks reported. As we sighted the humpbacks we also saw some splashing. It was Risso's dolphins. Over several miles there were upwards of 500 dolphins resting and milling. One individual took some interest in the boat and approached several times - even came in for a bow ride! This is very uncommon for Risso's dolphins. They are fully capable of these behaviors and we see them surf and play in the waves, they just usually don't come and interact with the boat.
As we continued to explore off shore we came across a few more humpbacks whales that ended up interacting with the Risso's for a few minutes before we had to start making our way back to Moss Landing.
Another boat reported a surface active humpback whale that we on our way. So we came by in the hopes of it remaining active. We were treated to about 15 minutes of breaching and flipper slapping from CRC-20366 before we turned and headed in to the harbor.
We passed some of the same whales from the first part of the trip on our way back to the dock.
Overall a fantastic day!