Friday, September 27, 2013

Magic on Monterey Bay with Humpback Whales

The Velocity from Stagnaros
Last Sunday, we packed up a picnic lunch and headed to Santa Cruz for a whale watching trip aboard the Velocity, run by Stagnaro Charters. Honestly, I was so excited, I am sure that I was driving Tom crazy. Didn't seem like we drive to Santa Cruz fast enough to get on board the boat!   I was nervous that we wouldn't even get to leave the dock as everything on Hwy 1 and in Santa Cruz was totally socked in with thick late summer fog.

Then before we knew it,  we were on board and off in the open waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Quick stop at the Santa Cruz one mile marker to visit with a few sea lions - even a rare stellar seal!  They were so funny to watch. All around the marker were other seals and sea lions trying to get up on the buoy, but the biggest ones were growling and scaring the other ones off.

Then, our captain and crew spotted them.  Oh my, I get goosebumps just reliving those few hours with these majestic animals! 

Monterey-Santa Cruz Bay is rumored to have over 100 humpback whales visiting right now.  Literally, our boat was surrounded by them! Some were so close, we could smell their bad "fishy" breath as they breached and blew out their blowholes and then swam within feet of the boat; flipped their barnacle-adorned tails and dove underneath.   I would suspect showing off just a little...

The humpbacks were gorging themselves on an abundance of anchovies, and then the seals and pelicans would jump and dive all over the leftovers!  I don't think that I ever seen that many seals and sea lions in one place - jumping, frolicking and "barking" with joy.  (not sure if you see them in this image - but I hope so!)

I want to go back this weekend...

Hope you enjoyed a few of the pics, unfortunately my "regular" Canon camera memory card went on the fritz and I lost all of the images on my "real" camera so these are from my iphone.  Not the greatest, but wanted to have something to chronicle our trip.  

If you ever get a chance to go whale watching, GO!  
A few things to note:

1. The boat is rockin' and rollin' on the open ocean - so make sure wear the right kind of shoes to be able to stand steady and not slide on the deck.
2. Bring an extra sweater, sweatshirt or jacket.  Even if there is sun on shore, there is wind, and mist on the ocean,
3. Picnic lunch is difficult to eat on board when you are being tossed in the waves - might consider eating before or after!  Stagnaro's does have a small galley on board to buy lunch, but still difficult to eat without making a mess.
4. Bring extra batteries and memory card for camera.  Kicking myself for this failure...

Have a great weekend!

1 comment:

a quiet life said...

how exciting, i think its fab so many made an appearance! last time monterey bay was full they moved up north to my area, fingers crossed! i have been so busy with life i don't stare at the sea like i did for over 2 straight years... every afternoon, when the sun gets a certain slant, i could see whales, of course for 4 months its been to foggy to even see my car in the driveway, but this last week i could see hawaii. ok, maybe just the shipping lanes! which they moved out even farther to protect the whales last summer when to many were getting their backs broken... i want life to simmer down so i can stare again, i saw them breach from the comfort of my living room, i almost lost my voice and tinkled on myself i was so excited!

i did crack up about your fishy breath, you must not have cats ;-)!

great pics, they are hard to get, you never really know where to point the camera, plus when you are squealing its hard to be steady!

brave you, no desire to hit the open waters, i was just thinking about the farallones this morn, such brave folks going out in peanut boats 26 miles... every afternoon the seas are so rough i can't even imagine willing leaving the comfort of SHORE! i have seen to many accidents, but i do live at an extremely dangerous bay so jaded... enjoy your weekend if you do a repeat!

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