A very exciting day - with multiple groups of killer whales seen in our area! All used to be encountered more frequently; they are fairly seldom seen now.
A fisherman had spotted some killer whales off Point Joe in the morning. Our Monterey Bay Whale Watch boat encountered four killer whales off Big Sur at 11:15 am: the CA39A matriline! This included matriarch CA39A Hopper (~25-years-old, named for her frequent habit of spyhopping as a young calf) and her offspring: daughter CA39A1, CA39A2 (likely female), and large calf CA39A4. They were headed southeast. They approached and went under the boat; CA39A did a big spyhop!
In the mid-afternoon, different killer whales were encountered by Dorris Welch (Sanctuary Cruises Whale Watching) over 20 miles away, near the Soquel Canyon Hole. An estimated 7-10 (most likely 7) killer whales were traveling north in two nearby subpods that later joined up and then headed east. The CA138s were part of this group: mom CA138 and her four offspring, including 14-year-old sprouting son CA138A, 11-year-old daughter CA138B, 6-year-old daughter CA138C, and calf CA138D (2-3 years old). CA49C (16-17 years old) was also with them (identified in a photo posted by Adam Ernster); she was likely with her young calf CA49C1 (1-2 years old).
☆UPDATED IDs: it appears from footage and additional submitted images that the second encounter mist likely consisted of 7 whales, including the CA138s (5 whales) and the CA49Cs: calf CA49C1 was present too!
*Thanks so much to all who sent us sighting details and/or photos: Dorris Welch (Sanctuary Cruises Whale Watching), Don Baccus (Fast Raft), Tim Zoliniak (Sea Goddess Whale Watching), and Adam Ernster.
* Photos by Daniel Bianchetta and Scottie Schmidt (Monterey Bay Whale Watch).