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Mediocre Strafer
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So last week I saw this article in Wired about a huge influx of krill, anchovy, and whales to snack on them into Monterey Bay. Once in a generation opportunity, I had to go. So - I did. Drove up Wed. evening, went out on Thursday, was so amazed I called my friend Rusty (RGBEARD) and told him to get up there too. He and his wife flew up Friday, we went to see MORE whales Saturday, and then I talked the marine biologist and her intern into flying over the bay Sunday and seeing - well, more whales! So without too much further ado, here's a bunch of pics. Many of whales.

KeS

Look what happened between the end of August and the middle of September:

 

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Mediocre Strafer
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
First marine mammal sighting:



Rizzo's dolphins - this is about what I expected to see on a Monterey whale trip, frankly:



Ok, I was wrong:



We'd see these huge boils of sea lions appear just where the whale was going to surface:



And lots of fluke shots. Pretty much any time I got a clear shot of a whale tail, it was a fluke. :)

 

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Mediocre Strafer
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Sometimes you'd get one humpback by itself:



But a lot of times there were two or more together:



Ok, ready for something different? How about some blue whales? Here are five blue whales swimming abreast, with four spouts in the air. These went off like water cannons at the Bellagio!



This is what you call a lot of whale.



See how streamlined the blues are compared to the humpbacks? They were like airplanes.

 

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Mediocre Strafer
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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Now normally you don't see blue whales "fluke" very much, because they are long and relatively stiff compared to the humpbacks. Today, not a problem. See which set of diving blue whale pics you like better:







Or maybe this set - different whale:





 

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Mediocre Strafer
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
These better shots were taken by RGbeard with a polarizing lens on the Saturday trip. I couldn't handle the big lens in the bumpy conditions, and we weren't out long, but he got some great shots!

Normally you are supposed to stay well away from the whales. But when they are faster than the boat, and want a close up view - not much you can do about it!



Great detail in this humpback tail:



Flashed by a whale!



Had to shoot this sea lion - it was headed right for us!



And the money shot:

 

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Mediocre Strafer
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Sunday we went out over the bay in our rented prop plane, with a couple of the biologists from the boat. We saw fewer whales, but much the same behaviors. Will have more pics later from the others, but here's an example of what we got to see for an hour:



An excited biologist is a happy biologist!



And, of course, no trip to Monterey is complete without the obligatory sea otter photo!

 

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Awesome! How often do they see blue whales? I'd imagine they are pretty rare.

I saw a cool show on the grey whale migration a few years ago. The gist is that they stay close to shore because the sound of the crashing waves confuses the killer whales' sonar and makes the grey whales harder to find. The mouth of Monterey Bay is the only place where they have to cross a big stretch of deep water. The killer whales hang out there and try to pick of the gray whale babies as they come by. It's a little more competitive than you might think. The show had a mother grey whale kick the living shit out of a pack of killer whales for several hours. The killers finally gave up and went away. We decided that "killer whale"was not really that accurate. We started calling them "mildly annoying but not all that badass whales."
 

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Forever the Man
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Great shots and narration. I love seeing the overhead shots of the blues on the nature shows. They are so huge they look like Trident subs cruising underwater.
 
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