pacific gray whale

10

A Look Back at 2015

I gave myself a “challenge” to go whale watching at least once a month over the course of last year; I was able to complete it… 11/12 at least. :P I ended up going twice in November and couldn’t find the time to go in December so just kind of counted the second trip toward December. 

Most of the trips were in Dana Point or Newport Beach, with the exception of my Monterey Bay trip. 

These photos are some of the most memorable-

First, a breaching baby gray whale! This was before I invested in a zoom lens, so its not that good quality of a photo but I’m still glad I was able to react fast enough to capture a breach. (I saw a couple humpbacks and more grays breach but couldn’t shoot fast enough- it took a bit of practice to kind of predict where they’d come up and be ready to snap). The other gray whale photo is of a northbound mom and calf pair, which were pretty quiet and minded their own business.

All the dolphin shots here are from the 8 hour trip I went on, which was a bit of a disappointment. A) because the reason they put on the trip was to try and find “rare” species that came up with the El Nino warmth (Pilot whales, false killer whales, tropical orca, mobula rays, whale sharks and tons of great whites and hammerheads were spotted the days and weeks before/after) but 6 hours of the trip the water was completely dead B) because the species we did see (with the exception of a 2 second mola mola appearance) were ones that are already common to the area- common dolphin, sea lions and lags. But on the bright side, the time we spent with the dolphins was high quality. The lags were very playful and curious and one of the common dolphin groups we saw was a nursery pod with tons of babies.

The humpback photos and sea otter were from my Monterey Bay trip, which may have been the best trip all year. The water was nice and calm, there were several humpbacks in the area and one of the juveniles was EXTREMELY active and breached over 30 times, chin slapped, pec slapped and did all kinds of fun stuff.

And lastly, the ray. It wasn’t technically a whale watch shot but I found her in the harbor and she followed me around the docks which was pretty cool.