On Mother's day I had an exciting and wonderful experience. I went whale watching with my mom as an early birthday present, and it was the best experience of my life!! We went to Monterey Bay Whale Watching center and boarded on a ship called Clipper, with Nancy Black (a renownd marine biologist) driving.
Look at the doggy at the window.
When we first left the fisherman's wharf, we checked out the sea lions hanging out. There was also one sea otter.
As we were heading out, we came across Risso's dolphins, but we wanted to continue to search for orcas (I also mistake the Risso's for orcas...). Nancy said that the transient orcas usually patrol the Monterey canyon, where they look around for something to eat. So she wanted to lead us all around it to come across the whales.
After more traveling, we finally came across them thanks to other whale watching boats surrounding the orcas too. It was Emma's family (though I believe Emma was ahead), and they started socializing! My favorite part was when they started touching eachother with their flippers. Orcas and other dolphins are very tactile and social creatures, so they bond by rubbing up one another.
This was such a wonderful encounter...I've always wanted to see something like this in person, they were slapping each other and rolling on top of one another. It was sooo cute and fun! The orcas we saw here, if I'm not miscounting, include Louise, Lil bee, Liner, another young female, another calf(CA140B1), and another sprouting male(CA140C).
6 whole orcas!!!
Louise and Little Bee (you can see her in the last pic) double breaching!! Mommy and Baby so cute :')
Liner, the largest orca, slaps the water with his huge pec flipper.
All of a sudden, they get into travel mode, and this is when we have trouble keeping up with them. We would follow them at full speed when they surfaced, but then they would dive, for about 3-7 minutes, which Nancy had to wait and go slowly for so we wouldn't miss them again.
The group also started separating into three subgroups at one point, which was hard to follow. One group was just Emma, another was just Louise and her young offspring, and the third one was just Liner and Louise's male sprouter. Luckily!!, the two males were coming really close to our boat! These are the photos I took of them and they're my best ones <3
At another point we see fin whales, Nancy saw that they detected orcas were nearby so they fled at full speed. We wouldn't be able to catch up to them, but we saw them later on when we headed back to the wharf.
I learned that fin whales, blue whales, and gray whales are deathly afraid of killer whales even when they are huge, mighty adults that wouldn't be attacked..I also learned that Risso's dolphins bully killer whales (I always thought it was the other way around for when orcas come across any dolphin species, but Risso's are brave!?) We saw them a second time right after the fin whales.
Anyways, a lot of time passes by with us trying to keep up with the kller whales in their travel mode, I think they regrouped at one point but then we lost them. We went all the way across Monterey bay! It's amazing how much killer whales travel in just one day. Being on a boat is very stressful, the motor is super loud, your muscles are trying to use all their power to balance on a rocking boat, and the wind blowing against you. Right now I'm very sore and have a bad sunburn but it was worth it x'D !
Another thing we saw when we tried heading back were humpback whales lunge feeding!! I really tried to, but for many reasons I couldn't get a photo of the action.. There were also cute pelicans surrounding them for an easy meal. Funnily, the pelicans come to the shadow of our boat thinking there is a whale that's making the water dark (and whale shadows means that fish will start surfacing). Nancy said they're young, so they don't know any better. We don't see anything else as we're heading back which took a long while. It was tiring but I very much enjoyed being on a boat in the vast open ocean. I hope to go once again whenever I can with my sisters this time. Nancy was amazing and was very eager to show us killer whales the entire 8 hours, we even stayed over time for about 11 hours..I was grateful for her consideration!