Showing posts tagged as "monterey bay"
Remember the story of the humpback whale that we’ve been seeing since 2004? Well, the first calf we saw her with is back, feeding in the same place its mother used to go – right outside Moss Landing!
A humpback mother and calf have been spotted breaching just off our ocean-view decks the past few days—and putting on quite a lively show! Thanks to Aquarium staffer Dan Albro for capturing this acrobatic moment.
Wondering what’s happening on Monterey Bay right now? How about two hours ago? Our live web cam now has the ability to “rewind” events over the previous day!
He’s still at it! Dr. Steve Webster was one of the founders of the Aquarium in 1984 and you can see him onsite narrating auditorium programs, giving lectures and helping educate our guides. Here he is on graduation day for our Teen Conservation Leaders program, on the nearby site of the old Chinese fishing village.
Did you know that Pacific white-sided dolphins, like these seen recently in the bay, can swim in herds of thousands? Members form a close-knit group and will often care for a sick or injured dolphin.
(Steve Johnston photo)
Here’s something to get your brain working on a Monday morning: What’s the largest creature on earth? Hint: We’ve been seeing them recently in the bay! (Steve Johnston photo)
Senior Guest Experience Trainer Steven Johnston has been following a certain humpback whale—nicknamed Big Fin—for more than a decade. But after no sightings for two years, he feared the worst. Then, in mid-May, Big Fin returned to Monterey Bay! We’ll let Steve pick up Big Fin’s story….
I first was introduced to this whale in 2004 by the captains of Sanctuary Cruises out of Moss Landing. They had nicknamed her “Big Fin” due to the unusual shape of her dorsal fin. The captains told me they had first seen her in 2001, and each year since. Each odd-numbered year she had a calf. One of the best things about Big Fin is that she almost always hung out two to three miles outside Moss Landing, so she was often the first whale we saw on the way out or the last whale we saw on the way in.
In 2008, one of our volunteers sent me a photo of a whale tail that he had taken. I e-mailed him back and said, “I know that whale!” He had sent me a photo of Big Fin without ever knowing her story!
In 2010 I was doing a presentation about humpbacks, and invited Kate, one of the captains of Blue Ocean Whale Watch, also out of Moss Landing, as my guest. As Kate looked at my photos, she yelled, “I know that whale—I have her photo in my boat for passengers!”
In 2011 I went out with Blue Ocean in June. At that point Kate had not seen Big Fin yet that year, but we were hopeful. About a mile out she spotted a blow another couple of miles out. As we got closer, Kate yelled to me that she was sure it was Big Fin. Sure enough! We could also see that the baleen in the front of her mouth is white and shriveled, perhaps due to gum disease, or possibly damage to her jaw from fishing gear. It clearly isn’t very functional. She tips her head back and uses baleen that is farther back in her mouth to filter out her food, so the damage may not be in her whole mouth.
In 2012 no one that I know saw big Fin, and we were afraid that our friend might indeed have died of old age. However, on May 14 of this year, Kate said they had seen Big Fin that morning, and picked her out in the distance by her feeding method! It’s really good to know that our old friend is still around. No calf in sight, so she may indeed be old, but she’s still here!
Did you know that the whale-watching season is in full swing? There have been sightings of humpbacks, blue whales (the largest creature on earth), and even a pod of orcas! (©Jim Capwell/www.divecentral.co)
Need a little beach time? Our Monterey Bay HD web cam now includes multiple views. All that’s missing is the scent of the ocean!
Can you see us? It’s not always easy! With the great summer weather, boat traffic is up. Just this week a threatened southern sea otter was found dead on our coast. Autopsy showed severe blunt force trauma consistent with a boat strike. Be extra-vigilant and give sea otters a brake—it’s the law!