Hey all! I am finally home after a short (but incredible!) trip to Monterey Bay, California. While I was there I was privileged to witness a group of Transient Killer Whales successfully hunt and kill a gray whale calf. It was heart wrenching but something I am awed to have been able to witness firsthand.
We caught up with the killer whales at about 9am. They were spread out in the fog, travelling in small groups in what appeared to be foraging behavior. Typically they would come to the surface between three and five times in short succession and then go down on a long dive for four to seven minutes. They were hard to keep track of but we did manage it.
A short while later their behavior changed at the drop of a hat. The original group we had seen, consisting of a mother with her two grown sons, began porpoising at high speed and it wasn’t long before we saw why. They had found a Gray Whale mother and calf. Once the two had been located the call went out and other killer whale groups arrived on scene at high speed to help with the take down.
During the actual kill, which took approximately 1 1/2 hours, whales would come in to work on separating the mother and calf on rotation. When they weren’t immediately engaged with the gray whales they were swimming on the periphery, keeping tabs on the status of the hunt.
The mother gray whale defended her calf until the kill had been made at which time she surfaced completely motionless, belly up (see above photo) and remained like that for several minutes. Afterwards she left the scene at a high rate of speed.
The feeding continued for the rest of the day after that and the whales were very sociable (and chatty!) while they seemed to celebrate a successful hunt. The carcass was never visible at the surface but after a couple of hours a slick did form.
What was really intriguing was to see several humpback whales come into the immediate area of the kill. The researchers on board who have spent the past 25-30 years researching California Ts say this isn’t too uncommon; the humpbacks seem to be curious about what had happened. They were trumpeting, tail lobbing, and stayed in the same general area for as long as we were on scene.
When we returned the next day to the same area the slick was still present. The killer whales were not in the immediate area but two of the same groups (the original two groups we found the day before) were nearby, zig-zagging across the bay with long down times. After we left them to their foraging another boat reported they had headed south.
More photos are available (and even more will be posted) to the trip album on my website: http://www.hysazuphotography.com/p113916891
A candle for Morgan
I’m so sorry baby girl x
SeaWorld often donates large sums of money to politicians - over $100,000 has been funnelled to lobbying groups since 2012.
Is it any surprise that many of the politicians who have been in support of SeaWorld recently have also received in excess of hundreds of dollars from the company?
Lets have some accountability, people.
How crazy cute is this giant whale? Please take the money you’d spend at SeaWorld & go whale watching out in the ocean instead. It’s more of a memorable adventure for the whole family, less expensive, & available in many cities.
And, it’s the right thing to do :)What a big cutie!! I’m in love with this pic
California Transients Hunting a Gray Whale Calf
Hey guys! I’ve been down in Monterey, CA. the past few days and I was lucky enough to witness California Transients hunt and kill a gray whale calf. Here are a handful of the photos I took. We spent all day on the water and witnessed the hunt from beginning (when the whales hadn’t even located the mom and calf) to the very end (when they were feeding). It was heart wrenching and intense, but a once-in-a-lifetime experience I’m thankful to have had!