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Wonderful whale watching
August 2010

Last month saw a record amount of humpback and blue whales feeding in Monterey Bay. In sightings from land, and even better, from whale watching boats, there were often as many as 50–60 whales visible. Up close in the boats, a group I was with on a boat tour saw mothers with their calves, juveniles rolling over and over flashing their tails and even the pink roofs of their mouths as they took in the abundant krill. In addition to about a dozen blue whales and 40 humpbacks, we also saw three types of dolphins and a Black-footed Albatross! It has been seven years since we have seen this number of whales in the Bay.

“How do you save a whale?
You have to protect the
—Dr. Sylvia A. Earle

The whales seem to show up overnight, apparently communicating miles away to others about the concentration of krill in our area. Naturalists on the whale boats said their depth sounders revealed krill close to the surface and most dense from 200 feet to the bottom, and at the ocean canyon near Carmel, at 450 feet. It is not clear what caused this unusually high concentration of krill but it was a good sign to see the Bay appear to have such a healthy population of marine life from the smallest microplankton to the largest animal on earth—the blue whale.

—Rita Dalessio

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