Whales, orcas put on show in Monterey Bay


It’s summer! Time to head to the beach for tanning, swimming and whale watching.

I know what you’re thinking: Huh?

But yes, Monterey Bay is proving that whale watching doesn’t have to be a bunch of people on a boat puking all over.

Elusive — and endangered — blue whales and orcas are making more appearances for nature enthusiasts this summer.

Actually, this isn’t all that uncommon. These creatures got overshadowed last summer as we all paid so much attention to nearby humpbacks, which got as close to a few hundred yards offshore in Santa Cruz.

Whale watching-boat operator Kenny Stagnaro told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that even though orcas and blue whales aren’t all that rare, it’s always a sight to behold when they do show up:

“It’s not uncommon at all to see them, but it’s definitely not an every-day occurrence.”

Small groups of orcas of two or three are commonly seen on patrol. They navigate waters looking for smaller mammals to make a meal of while their families linger nearby.

According to Stagnaro, it’s speculated that the Monterey Canyon, which goes from 30 feet to 3,000 feet deep, is the reason many whales are fond of the area. The water depth supposedly makes whales’ echolocation more effective.

A surge in krill could also be the cause of this slightly-better-than-average turnout among whales population along the Monterey coast.

If you make it out there to see these creatures, Giancarlo Thomae, a marine biology senior student at UC Santa Cruz, told the Sentinel that prime viewing season is almost here:

“We happened to see more whales since the first part of May. And now we’re approaching krill’s peak production. Anytime during next month will be the best to go see these animals.”

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