Humpback Whales

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Saturday I spent late morning until early afternoon at sea Whale Watching outside of Monterey, CA. We sailed about 12 miles off shore to the Monterey Submarine Canyon where there were quite a number of Humpback Whales, Gray Whales, and a Blue Whale feeding on Krill, and other little fishes that were abundant on Saturday.

“The Monterey Submarine Canyon is quite large…an undersea Grand Canyon. It’s 470 kilometers (292 miles) long and approximately 12 kilometers (39 ft) at its widest point with a maximum rim to floor relief of 1,700 meters (5,577feet).”  ~Simon Sanctuary

It’s was quite exciting seeing the Whales! I didn’t see a Breach this time out, but saw lots of Spouting, or Blowing.

Humpback Whale Spouting

It was overcast, windy, and a bit choppy out at sea the whole time. The Sun only peeked out a couple of times.

I saw some Fluking when the whales  are going to dive down as much as 50 meters.

Humpback Whale Fluking

Humpback Whale Fluking

Once they reach the depth they want they begin to slowly rise by spiraling up to the surface often in teams creating a Bubble Net.  The purpose of the bubble is to congregate the Krill and prey and force them to the surface. The Krill and fish see the bubbles as a net and feeling trapped they stay in the center of the  Bubble Net. The Whales come up with an explosion of air with their mouths wide open eating all they can.

Here are two images of  a fin  of a Humpback Whale when it breaks the surface while they’re under the surface spinning.

Humpback Whale Spouting w Flipper showing

Humpback Whale Flipper;

The Humpback often get under that Bubble Net and Lunge up with their mouths gaping open scooping up the prey. Here you see at least 3 working as a team.

Humpback Whale Lunge Feeding

I see four working together here.

Humpback Whales Lunge Feeding

Humpback Whale Lunge feeding.

Humpback Whale Lunge Feeding

Humpback Whales spend the winter in the warm waters near Costa Rica and Hawaii. Humpbacks, including mothers with calves travel thousands of miles to feast on krill, and schooling fish in the Monterey Bay while they migrate north to their feeding waters in Alaska.  They grow to be 45ft to 62ft (14-19 meters) long!

I missed quite a few good photo ops b/c for the first time in my life I got sea sick. It’s NOT FUN! I will go again but, I’m taking medicine before hand.

The images are not converted to Black & White. It was so gray out that they look black and white.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 80-200mm| Lexar Digital Film| Hand-held| Developed in PS CC 2015.5

More to come…


40 thoughts on “Humpback Whales

  1. Great humpback whale shots! I like how you described their open mouth catching food as~
    “mouths gaping open scooping up food.” For some reason this had me giggling, Deborah. Their awkward appearance and gulping food approach just made them seem like goofy creatures. . . 😀

    1. 🙂 Their mouths are so different from ours it is kinda funny. The way to create a bubble net to trap schools of fish is another fascinating thing about them that draws me to watching them.

      Thank you so much for the comment Robin! I don’t mind at all you finding posts from the past and commenting on them! xx

      1. Back in the late 1970’s my first wife and i kayaked both arms of Glacier Bay. One amazing day we paddled out to where a humpback was fishing. Several times it went right under the boat, but never came up too close to us. It was a very very special experience that I will always remember.

  2. Sounds like a good day, except for the seasick part. I’m glad you added that last bit. I was going to ask if these were B&W or if the day was just gray.

    1. Up until I got sick it was great, then after I got off the boat and had lunch I felt good and spent the rest the day looking for sea otters, and shore birds.

      It was a gray overcast day. The high was 66º over there in the middle of summer mind you. It was a bit warmer at home, but still windy. 🙂

  3. They are such magnificent creatures! I’ve never seen one up close – lucky you! Sorry you got seasick and that the day was gray…maybe next time you’ll get some really great shots! Have a great week 🙂

    1. Thank you Linda! I hope I don’t get sick again…there will be an again. 🙂 Gray is pretty common here in the summer months along the coast so, it will probably be overcast the next time I go out too. 🙂

      I hope you have a wonderful week!

  4. The whales and ocean look magnificent :-)! Sorry you got seasick. I got seasick once on a two hour boat ride along the west coast of Vancouver Island. I was so miserable. Kindly, my friend sat next to me and let me hold her hand. It helped.

    1. Thank you so much Myriam!

      I’m sorry I got sea sick too. I got some ginger chews, and stayed at the back of the boat for sometime. Thankfully there was nothing in my stomach, but I felt miserable; nauseous, and had a headache. Once I went back to the front of the boat and could see land I started feeling better, and once back on land the headache started to disappear. I had some lunch then felt much better.

      1. I had an empty stomach too when I went on my boat ride. I think rolling waves may be less nausea inducing if one has a bit of easy to digest food in one’s stomach. Maybe. I never tested that theory… but someone suggested it back then. I was so, so thankful to feel land under my feet after that boat ride! And like you, I felt better after lunch. I hope your next boat ride will be nausea-free! 🙂

        1. Me too! It could have also not helped me having an empty stomach. I tend to get sick if I don’t eat every few hours.

          I’m ready to get back out there. I’d love to see a breach and have my camera ready!

  5. Seasick! Oh no. Poor you. That can really spoil the experience but I’m glad you got to see the whales feeding in their bubble net. How cool.
    I well remember grey days out there. The media tells us that fog is dead~I’m glad it isn’t!

    1. Thank Heaven I didn’t start to feel ill until after I seen some Lunging! Two or three years ago I went out and only saw flukes, some really shallow lunging, and a breach, but I was at the front of the boat and the breach was at the back while we were heading back into the harbor. I got a quick look as the Humpback was sinking back down. I’ve wanted a breach shot since.
      I’ve never developed any of the images from that trip. I should revisit them since the fluking was better that trip than this one. Now that have something to compare it with. 🙂

      Oh no, fog, and overcast summers aren’t dead here. Bring a coat if you’re coming to visit the coast during the summer. It can be down right cold, and some days the sun never breaks through.

      Thank you so much for the comment Melissa! It was really neat to see so many spouts, and whales! Even the Captain was giddy, and giggling. She said it was a special day. Seeing that many doesn’t happen everyday.

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