What Kind of Whales Can You See in Monterey Bay?
For those who love to watch the magnificent sight of whales briefly breaching the water’s surface, then Monterey Bay is the place to go. With a wide array of sea life, there is practically always something to see. With a new annual pass for $250 offered by Chris Whale Watching, you can see all the species of whale throughout the year. Considering that whales have specific times of the year when they’re the most active, this pass is especially crucial to ensure that you can hit the boat during those periods when a sighting is practically guaranteed.
To find out just what kind of species whale await you, here’s a list of the incredible species that Monterey Bay boasts.
1. Sperm Whale
Easily the largest toothed predator, the sperm whale has a migration path that can be followed by those seeking to watch them. Females of the species often travel with younger males. However, the male variants of the species live a solitary life save for when it is time for breeding. It’s the job of the females to protect their young and keep them fed. Typically, the young are cared for and protected for about a decade. Then they split off and live their own isolated lives. As for the women, they tend to give birth every four to twenty years.
As you might imagine, there are few predators that can take on a sperm whale. However, a group of orca can kill a young calf if it’s left unprotected. Interestingly enough, this species has the largest brain in the world. It’s five times heavier than that of a human brain. Typically, this species can live for more than 60 years. They are a vulnerable species and thus protected by the International Whaling Commission.
2. Killer Whale
The killer whale, often called orca, are perhaps the most famous of its variant. Technically, they belong to the oceanic dolphin family and are easily the biggest member of that family. While their diet is quite vast, certain populations of them have a specific diet based on the ease of access. They are considered to be apex predators since there are no other species out there that feed on them. In fact, they tend to perfect their hunting strategies together to the point where they can often kill the adults of species much larger than themselves.
They’re also found in all of the oceans. Anywhere from the Arctic Ocean to the waters that surround a tropical climate, this species can be found in many different types of environments. Interestingly enough, killer whales are typically made up of matrilineal family groups. These groups are the most stable of any other grouping found in the animal species. They’re highly social creatures and sophisticated. In regards to their vocalizations, they have been found to actually be specific to the populations they are used and vary from population to population. These vocalizations are passed down from generation to generation and often suggest to researchers the possibility of animal culture.
Despite the danger that killer whales have posed to their handlers in amusement parks, in the wild, they are actually quite harmless. That being said, they are on the endangered list for certain regions of the world. Not only are they hunted, but they also fun into problems with fisheries in which they can get caught in their nets and perish. Many of their habitats are also being lost, which has led to a steep decline in their population.
Orcas have a lifespan around sixty to eighty years. Though some have suspected to live to their hundreds. With pollution rapidly filling up the oceans, however, their lifespans will likely decrease substantially.
3. Gray Whale
Another species that you can see in Monterey Bay is the massive grey whale. This species can reach a staggering length of forty-nine feet and can weigh up to forty tons. Typically, a grey whale has a lifespan of up to seventy years. Their name comes from the grey patches that are found on their skin. They were even once called devil fish because of their tendency to fight when they’re being hunted.
Typically, this species is found in the East and West North Pacific region. Unfortunately, they are on the endangered list, critically endangered, in the North West region of Asia. While they did once exist in the oceanic area of Europe, the species has since gone extinct in that area. This was likely due to whaling.
Their migration travels can be quite long, sometimes even spanning 22,000 kilometers. Besides their typical grey spots, they also have white areas that are areas in which parasites have attached to their bodies. These parasites, however, typically fall off when they swim into colder temperatures. The white area is all that remains of the parasite’s presence.
4. Humpback Whale
One last species that you might see when attending CWW is the humpback whale. These whales are what makes watching so exciting. The humpbacks are notorious for breaking the surface, allowing watchers to see just how massive they can become. Even more famous than their surface behavior, however, is their tendency to sing. Humpbacks perform a song that can last up to twenty minutes. As of this moment, scientists still aren’t sure the exact purpose of their singing, although they suspect that it has to do with mating.
Although they were nearly hunted to extinction, Humpbacks have shown a tenacity. Measures have been taken to protect them, but with whaling still a problem as well as fisheries, their population continues to struggle to thrive.
Uncover A Majesty
These species are incredible to see, especially in their native populations. For an experience unlike any other and gaining a better understanding of these endangered animals, you should schedule your watching while you can. Experience the thrill of watching these marvels in their habitat and come to understand them a bit more.