was an unprecedented heat wave the week before Sunday, 18 May 2008. On
Saturday, temperatures on the coast were in the 80s, and inland over
100° Fahrenheit. The punishment for such heat was dense fog over
Monterey Bay and the coast on Sunday. It was an exceptionally dreary
day offshore, at least for mammals (like us) that live above the
waterline. For those that live primarily below, the weather may not
On our Monterey Seabirds boat trip on this
Sunday, we battled fog all day. Cold fog and a biting wind. But in the
mid-afternoon, as we returned cold and damp, we encountered a group of
very active Humpback Whales, and focused on a pair. And this pair was
the most demonstrative pair I've ever seen.
clearly closely interacting. In the shot above, one has just come to
the surface to blow while another starts a leap out of the sea — what
we call a breach. One came up so many times that we lost count — it
must have breached over a fifty times during out visit — and other
skippers of whale-watching boats said they had been going like this for
some time before our boat — skippered by Richard Ternullo and organized
by Roger Wolfe — arrived on-scene. In the shot just above (right) the
angle is such we can see the unique profile of the head of a Humpback.
cites a report of a Humpback near the West Indes for which "130
separate leaps were recorded in less than 90 minutes," but I think our
animals broke that record.