MONTEREY (KPIX 5) – Changes in the ocean are making for some incredible sights closer to shore than ever before. Whale watching in the Monterey Bay recently has been nothing short of epic.
“On a scale of one to 100, it’s a 100. It’s incredibly good,” wildlife videographer Keith Stemler told KPIX 5.
Stemler, with Chris’ Whale Watching Tours in Monterey, has been going out every day for the past five years, and has amassed hundreds of clips.
This year, Stemler has captured moments rarely seen this close to shore. Orcas chased, and then cornered a seal up against the boat.
They didn’t kill it right away. Stemler said they carried the live seal in their mouths to young orcas out at sea, to teach them how to hunt.
There was also a moment when some killer whales leapt on top of a humpback whale calf to drown it and then eat it, all while its mother watched helplessly.
Chris Arcoleo has run the family business since 1959. “Well, it’s not seen often, let’s put it that way,” Arcoleo said.
This year’s ocean currents means bait fish, such as anchovies, are popping up near the coast, bringing the entire ecosystem with them.
Even though the water temperature is in the mid-60s, more than ten degrees above normal, don’t thank El Nino just yet.
“Well, from a scientist’s perspective, you don’t announce hunches,” said Scott Kathey of NOAA. “We might have a presumption that it has something to do with El Nino, but being able to show the exact cause and effect, that’s a hard thing to do.”
Arcoleo said it’s been a great year in Monterey, but everyone from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo is also having a good year.