MONTEREY (KPIX) – The largest creatures on earth are not shy about making plenty of appearances this time of year in Monterey Bay.
Since reopening in June, Captain Michael Sack with Sanctuary Cruises has taken whale watchers within feet of humpback whales – roughly 7 miles from shore. It isn’t unusual to see them shortly after leaving the harbor in Moss Landing.
“This time of year, and generally as I say late spring, that’s when we see these humpback whales making their way back and they’re hungry, because when they go south to those breeding grounds, there’s not a lot of food for them,” said Sack.
This is prime time to spot humpback whales along the coast of San Francisco down to Monterey Bay, because marine experts say they are feeding about 24 hours a day.
This year Sack is seeing more calves. He believes they were born last December. At birth, they measure about 15 feet in length.
“Seems like this year we’ve had more calves than I believe we’ve had in past years,” he said. “For us it’s pretty neat to see. We’re as excited as can be to just be seeing it every day.”
While calves are not feeding on solid food just yet, there is plenty of it – mainly anchovies and sardines – for the adult humpbacks in Monterey Bay. Sack says it points to a healthy marine system.
Sack is now taking smaller groups on board to catch sight of the feeding whales, and has cut the boat’s capacity in half to 15 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Social distancing among parties and masks are required.
Sanctuary Cruises says the humpback whales usually feed along the coast until November.