Monterey Bay Whale Watch Map of Marine Mammal
Sightings in the Monterey Bay Region
May 1 - May 31, 1999
compiled by Richard Ternullo
Note: Gray Whales are not plotted on the chart. Numerous California Sea Lions, Harbor Seals, and Southern Sea Otters are seen on all trips, and also are not plotted.
This spring has been marked by cooler sea surface temperatures than in the previous few years. Surface swarming of krill remains a mystery, but has provided whalewatchers the rare opportunity to observe Gray Whales feeding far from their normal Arctic feeding grounds. Humpback Whales still seem to prefer fish to krill as a primary food source despite the seemingly abundant krill. Blue Whales should appear later in June. Hopefully if the surface swarming continues, look forward to some spectacular whalewatching of Blue Whales.
Among the toothed whales, Killer Whales are the main item. A dedicated effort to locate and follow the animals as long as possible has resulted in an amazing collection of behavioral data. The primary effort has been focused on a chase and kill of a Gray Whale. This has not been seen (being just minutes late on 5/24). The unusual migration pattern this season of mothers/calves and late adults confounds an accurate interpretation of this year's migration and its influence on predation patterns.
Note that Long-Beaked Common Dolphin have been totally replaced by formerly dominant Pacific White-sided Dolphin as sea surface temperatures have declined. An Interesting pattern to look for as we enter the Oceanic Period is if Long-beaked Common Dolphin reappear, and in what numbers. We could be experiencing a genuine long term cooling trend.