Whale watching in Monterey (lots of pictures!)

A few weeks ago, I read this NY Times article on the amazing whale-watching in Monterey right now. A huge number of anchovies have been hanging around in Monterey Bay, providing a feast for all kinds of wildlife, including humpback whales. While Monterey Bay always has great whale-watching (something I didn’t know until reading the article), this year’s has been particularly spectacular, so Nick and I booked tickets to go yesterday. Monterey is only about a 75 minute drive from us so it was just a no brainer.

Whales are wild animals and so of course there’s never a guarantee that you’ll see any, but we weren’t disappointed on our trip. According to our guide (Kristin, a marine biologist who also works with Monterey Bay Whale Watch), we saw about 10 humpbacks, 40 Risso’s dolphins, 1 grey whale, and numerous sea lions.

In fact, saying that we weren’t disappointed is a gross understatement – we were THRILLED and AMAZED and couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces. Even going through the photos today was so awesome. We both feel so lucky and privileged to have I’ll let the photos speak for themselves below (click on any photo to make it bigger – it’s worth it to see them in large size!).

I wasn’t fast enough to get a picture of one particular dolphin who swam right up to the boat to check us out – he was on his back super close to the surface, looking right up at us as he swam under the boat! We could clearly see him right under the surface of the water. SO amazing.

Our first glimpse of marine wildlife - a bunch of Risso's dolphins.
Our first glimpse of marine wildlife – a bunch of Risso’s dolphins.
Two Risso's dolphins. The darker they are, the older they are.
Two Risso’s dolphins. The darker they are, the older they are.
A Risso's dolphin coming up for air
A Risso’s dolphin coming up for air
Sea lions diving and playing near our boat.
Sea lions diving and playing near our boat.
Sea lions diving and playing near our boat.
Sea lions diving and playing near our boat.
There she blows!
There she blows!
Our first glimpse of whales.
Our first glimpse of whales.
Two humpbacks swimming together.
Two humpbacks swimming together.
Beautiful animals.
Beautiful animals.
Getting ready to dive
Getting ready to dive
Getting "flippered off" by a couple of humpbacks
Getting “flippered off” by a couple of humpbacks
Waving hello
Waving hello
The underside of a humpback's fluke is a unique identifier, like a fingerprint.
The underside of a humpback’s fluke is a unique identifier, like a fingerprint.
Diving
Click to watch a video of this whale diving.
Another dive
Click to watch a video of this whale diving.
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