Feeding Frenzy!

Posted by Captain Jack

It was another fabulous sunny calm day in the channel for our whale watching trips. One left the docks at 9 AM, and the other at 12 noon. Total sightings for the day included 2 gray whales, 7 humpback whales, 50 pacific white-sided dolphins, and 1300 long-beaked common dolphins. As I say a lot lately, the numbers don’t tell the whole story so please read on!

The morning trip left the docks and found a major hotspot 4 miles south of Hope Ranch area. There were 4 humpbacks, who came into the area one at a time and spent the entire trip surface-lunge feeding. Some came up vertical, some horizontal. Thousands of little tiny anchovies were flying everywhere trying to escape the jaws of death. 500 or so common dolphins joined in the feast. On the way home, we stopped and watched two gray whales close to shore near the lighthouse.

At noon we headed offshore to try and re-locate the feeding humpbacks. We got as far as 1 mile south of Leadbetter Beach when a nice pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins found the boat. We continued on towards the morning hotspot and soon got on it. This time there were 3 humpback whales, 2 large adults and a single juvenile. As before, the gluttony ran rampant. All 3 whales continuously surface lunge-fed for the entire trip duration. It is hard to imagine how the northern anchovy species could continue to exist after what we witnessed today. Total NatGeo! Oh, by the way, two pods of common dolphins joined the feast: a group of 200 was soon joined by a second group of 600.