Common Murres Tag

Tiny Fish and Gentle Giants

Kathy pointing at a pod of passing humpbacks in Monterey Bay out of Moss Landing. Photo by Steven T. Callan

Kathy pointing at a pod of passing humpbacks. Photo by author

It was early September when Kathy and I arrived in Pacific Grove to find the whole town buzzing with excitement. Something strange was going on, the likes of which no one had ever seen. Water temperatures in Monterey Bay were reportedly five degrees warmer than normal for this time of year. Baitfish numbers were off the charts, and wherever anchovies, sardines, and other prey species swam, congregations of larger fish, seabirds, and marine mammals followed. Among the marine mammals in relentless pursuit of these tiny, silver-sided fish were sea lions, dolphins, and the largest creatures on earth—the whales.