I spent last weekend on a whale watching boat out of Monterey Bay, CA. First off — what a spectacular drive down the coast even though we hit some summer traffic in a few places! We reached our destination just in time to catch a 5:30 cruise leaving from Fisherman's Wharf (you need to book ahead).
Apparently, an abundance of krill (tiny shrimp) has been appearing off shore, drawing huge numbers of whales — both humpbacks and blue whales. Researchers say that the whales seem to have used their long distance communication skills to summon other whales. This is the largest concentration of blue whales in this area in a decade.
What a thrill to see the gigantic spouts of the blues and their long, smooth torsos rising out of the sea. We saw quite a few humpbacks as well, some of them "singing" (like excited elephants!) as they rode through the waves.
Below is my best video of two humpbacks:
Back in the harbor and along shore we continued to feel like we were in a marine mammal wonderland with sea otters floating among the boats and throngs of sea lions and harbor seals lounging on the rocks and beaches.
There's a feeling of shared community with so many animals around. Instead of a lot of noisy boat traffic, a few sailboats dotted the bay while small groups of kayakers paddled through islands of floating kelp. There were also a number of scuba divers in the water.
There's a calm, Meditarrean feel to the town with cafes and bistros along the waterfront and people just enjoying the scene.