It’s Orca Season

Orcas are fast and maneuverable, if they are not on a kill they decide how close to visit with boats.

It’s orca season! Monterey Bay Whale Watch saw ten orcas preying on a minke whale and a harbor porpoise on the 15th. Here are some orca images.

A mother calf pair in Mexico, they won't stop to visit now, they are worried about getting eaten.

A mother calf pair in Mexico, they won't stop to visit now, they are worried about getting eaten.

The gray whale counters in Santa Barbara are starting to see lots of gray whale mother calf pairs, the reports from Mexico said it was a good calving year.

This means lots of food for orcas. There are media reports of many undernourished elephant seals in the area. Young sea lions are moving up from So Cal, they are covering the breakwater in Monterey and the visitors dock at Elkhorn. The orca population should continue to recover, as long as their food supply remains plentiful. Expect to see them sighted closer and closer to seal haul outs as they realize humans won’t shoot them. Last summer they were photographed inside the breakwater in Monterey.

I saw lines of pelicans, still in their breeding plumage, flying north near Moss Beach late last week too, the seasons are changing.

A pod of orcas in mid bay.

I am uncomfortable with whale watch boats following gray mother calf pairs now, they are in stealth mode to avoid orcas. Good captains avoid them.

A crowd of whale watchers at Bodgea Head

Grays are at or near the surf line passing us in decent numbers through early May. You might have to wait a bit but if you are patient and the surf and winds are mild they are easily seen from shore. Point Lobos, Pigeon Point, the lighthouse at Drakes, the coastal bluffs at Davenport, and Bodega Head are great spots.

If you go on the boats over the next month you may see orca kills, something I don’t enjoy, but it is life unvarnished.

Orca killing a young California sea lion off Moss Landing.

I’ve been on all the boats in the area, and recommend Monterey Bay Whale Watch, all their captains are good, and the naturalists top rate. If Nancy or Richard are at the helm it’s a special treat, both are researchers, and publish papers on orcas. Try to pick days with low wind and go early.


About westcoastwilds

This site is meant to share the beauty of the Pacific Ocean and educate people about mankind's stewardship obligations now that we have complete control of the planet. To date we've made a mess of it, but there is still hope.
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