April 15, 2016
Monterey Bay Whale Watching companies are reporting record sightings of orcas in the bay this spring.
“We’ve had record sightings of killer whales over last few weeks, and they attacked and fed on the second gray whale of season this week,” said Nancy Black with Monterey Bay Whale Watch in a message to Action News.
Black said she has been studying them for 30 years and this is the best year so far.
“It is one of the best years I’ve seen as far as orcas,” said Keith Stemler with Chris’ Fishing and Whale Watching.
Stemler and others have been capturing incredible photographs and videos of the animals and he said the whales have been out every day for the past five days.
“I have seen more orcas in the past month, month and a half, then I have in the past number of years,” Stemler said.
Naturalists with Princess Monterey Whale Watching said spring is the time when Orcas are in the Monterey Bay, because they hunt baby gray whale migrating through our waters this time of year.
“They are usually moving through here in the spring time, over our deep water canyon, and the canyon makes for a great place for the orcas to ambush the gray whales,” said Kelsey Haynes a naturalist with Princess Monterey Whale Watching.
Haynes said she and other biologists don’t know what is behind the big numbers we are seeing this spring.
“It could have something to do with the El Nino, because we did have some pretty significant changes in the water temperatures, and even in our small schooling fish counts,” Haynes said.
Stemler thinks there are more krill out in the bay helping the food chain from the bottom up, but no one has a definite answer yet.
One thing Stemler did know for sure, if you are a killer whale fan, now may be your best shot at seeing them in the Monterey Bay.
“They are the top of the food chain here, they are incredibly intelligent, you know I’ve never witnessed anything like it until I came out here and saw it,” he said.
Chris’ Fishing and Whale Watching and Princess Monterey Whale Watching didn’t boats going out on Friday because of the high surf advisory, but it is likely Saturday and Sunday will be busy with calm warm weather predicted.