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Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 11, 2013 - 01:27am PT
OK, none other than the ever-popular L thinks we need a whale/dolphin/porpoise thread. I predict fewer participants than have shown up on the "Birds" thread, just because it is harder to get to where whales and dolphin hang out.

Here is a start. For the last month, there have been lots of humpback whales in the Monterey Bay and there are usually some right off of Capitola feeding on the bumper crop of anchovies there. You can get good views from shore or get out there on a kayak/SUP/rental skiff and really have fun. Some shots from the last week. Click em for larger versions.

Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Oct 11, 2013 - 01:31am PT
awesome!


went down to the Scruz wharf awhile back when they right off the end of it.

Loved watching the kayakers get scared as the whales breached.

I think I'd like to sniff whale breath once in my life.
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Oct 11, 2013 - 01:36am PT
"I think I'd like to sniff whale breath once in my life."

Careful what you ask for. Blue Whale breath is utterly horrid.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Oct 11, 2013 - 01:39am PT
Mike Bolte, WOW! Lynne L.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 11, 2013 - 02:03am PT
Couple more. Just missed a photo of a great lunge right next to this guy on the board. In my experience, all whale breath is horrid.

Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Oct 11, 2013 - 02:12am PT
I did say "once"

:)
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Oct 11, 2013 - 03:03am PT
So here's a whale story.

I spent a week solo scuba diving in Hawaii, off the Kohala Coast of the Big Island (Puako). The whales were in full migration and I could see them swimming about 100-200 yards off shore. And you could hear whale songs on every dive.

One day I decided to swim way out to see if I could get a close encounter with the passing whales. I stayed at about 30 feet but, unfortunately, didn't see any whales. The whale songs were so loud that I was sure they were very close by - but no luck.

On the next dive I decided to swim way out from shore, but stay deeper. Maybe I would see whales if I was deeper. But still no luck in seeing a whale.

Since I was really enjoying the whale songs, I decided to sink to the bottom (around 120 feet) and hang out to listen to the songs. I got really narcotized. So there I was, lying on my back in the sand at 120 feet, narcotized out of my mind, listening to whale songs.

What a trip!

scuffy b

climber
heading slowly NNW
Oct 11, 2013 - 11:17am PT
Wow, Mike,
that is awesome.
I take it you were on some sort of watercraft?
L

climber
California dreamin' on the farside of the world..
Oct 11, 2013 - 11:32am PT
"In my experience, all whale breath is horrid."

You should have your mouth washed out with seaweed for that, Mike. ;-)

I'm so happy to see this thread. Your photos deserve it. When the group America sang "The ocean is a desert with its life underground, and a perfect disguise above", they knew what many (well, OK, a few) of us know.

These are from March, down in the Dominican Republic.


A small group of us were snorkeling, staying in one place, and the whales would come up and look at us and hang out for a while or swim away, depending on their curiosity.


little Z

Trad climber
un cafetal en Naranjo
Oct 11, 2013 - 11:34am PT
I've seen many more dolphins than whales while out chasing pelagic birds here in the Pacific off Costa Rica. We did find 3 Blue Whales once. Pretty amazingly huge creatures. We were in a sailboat and so got real close. You could hear it's lungs filling up with air when it came to the surface - hard to describe the sound, but sort of "rubbery" something like "boinging" on of those red gym balls we used to play dodgeball with, only a much bigger sound. I'll always regret not diving into the water to try to catch a glimpse of it's entire bulk in its element, but I had no goggles.



the little blip on its tiny dorsal fin is some sort of mollusk.
L

climber
California dreamin' on the farside of the world..
Oct 11, 2013 - 11:48am PT
We were swimming in the Silver Bank area, part of the Atlantic Humpback migration route. All these humpies would eventually swim up along the Atlantic coast of the US and wave a pec at NYC...



Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 11, 2013 - 08:55pm PT
L - wow. Those are amazing. That last image is particularly dramatic.

Whales from shore:cool

Whales from a big boat: wonderful

Whales from a kayak (the answer to scuffy-b's question): incredible

Whales completely in their own environment: I can't even imagine

Is it a little scary?
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Oct 11, 2013 - 09:25pm PT
Saw this baby whale playing in the surf just a stone's throw off Point Dume last spring. His mom was lolling around a bit further out so I never got a good shot of her. They hung out for hours while we were climbing. It was a particularly beautiful day. Clear skies and all the plants on the hillsides had busted out in full bloom. 1st time I'd ever seen whales in Malibu.


SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Oct 11, 2013 - 09:30pm PT
WOWSA Mike, I need to get my kayak out there! Last thing I saw in Capitola were Junior Guards!

Susan
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Oct 11, 2013 - 11:55pm PT
Nice shots, L
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 12, 2013 - 12:44am PT
L

climber
California dreamin' on the farside of the world..
Oct 12, 2013 - 11:30am PT
JTM--Niiiiiiiiiiiiice shot of whales off Pt. Dume! To climb and watch whales at the same time...it don't get much better'n than, does it?


Mike, here's the drill:

*It's your first time out and you're excited as hell. The ocean is stunningly beautiful under that bright tropical sun.
*Then you're furiously pulling on mask & snorkel along with 6 or 7 other people furiously pulling on their masks & snorkels. Elbows are flying and fins are hitting shins.
*As you resort to mouth-breathing because you've cinched your mask down tight, you suddenly realize you're a bit nervous.
*You start to sweat in your 3mm wetsuit because it's actually quite warm under that blistering Banana Republic sun.
*Your brain is now telling you this might be a Bad Idea. That's a deep dark ocean beneath you and look, you're already sweating and mouth-breathing fer christsake!
*All at once the Captain says "Go!", and that boatload of lunatics (you included) shoot head-first into the waves like clumsy sea lions.
*Cold water and dim blue light engulf you. Your brain starts playing the theme from "Jaws". You're on the verge of a full-blown panic attack as you stare into those murky depths.

And then...ever so slowly...the massive form of a Humpback whale and her calf materialize out of the abyss. She is enormous. She is beautiful. And she is as graceful as Baryshnikov as she and her baby move gently through the water.

You're dumbfounded. Humbled. Exuberant.
It's like an OBE only much, much better.
And oddly enough, there's not an ounce of fear left in you.
Your fearful little brain has been short-circuited by the magnificence of the encounter, and all you truly feel is gratitude.
Gratitude and awe.
And, of course, a need to repeat the experience a couple hundred times. ;-)
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 26, 2014 - 12:27pm PT
time to bump this thread. L - love the post above this one.

The humpbacks are back in the Monterey Bay. Off Moss Landing this morning:


Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 26, 2014 - 01:41pm PT
Yup - there were some groups being guided out of there this morning. Got these shots from the jetty. Will head back tomorrow morning with the kayaks.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Jul 26, 2014 - 02:03pm PT
Lucky guys. I'm landlocked.
MH2

climber
Jul 26, 2014 - 02:36pm PT
Gratitude and awe. Good things to feel. Thank you whales and whale photographers/writers.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Jul 26, 2014 - 02:55pm PT
cool
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Jul 26, 2014 - 03:30pm PT
[Click to View YouTube Video]
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
Jul 26, 2014 - 03:44pm PT

TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Jul 26, 2014 - 04:01pm PT
[Click to View YouTube Video]
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
Jul 26, 2014 - 04:08pm PT
1989--Down in Baja. We were at Todo Santos, hanging with some boys from San Francisco-Out on the bay these big black boosters would come rising up. We probably saw about 40 that day. A really fabulous experience.
As usual no photos
little Z

Trad climber
un cafetal en Naranjo
Jul 26, 2014 - 06:43pm PT
some dol-fun we saw out on the Pacific here in Costa Rica


Common Dolphins, photos by Noel Ureña
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jul 26, 2014 - 07:39pm PT
Hump
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 13, 2014 - 10:51pm PT
Nice little z!

from shore at Moss Landing a week or so ago


and in the San Juan Islands day before yesterday

Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Aug 14, 2014 - 07:21am PT
Wow! Good work, Mr Bolte. Exciting stuff!

Did you get the Orca shot from dry land, or were you on the water?

I saw a Gray Whale a couple weeks ago off Yaquina Head in Oregon - I heard it spout first, which is what got my attention. I got "pictures" too, but they just look like a disturbance on the surface unless you know what you're looking at.


That was only the second time in my life I'd seen a whale. The first time was last year when I saw a pod of Orcas off Cattle Point / San Juan Island.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 14, 2014 - 09:08am PT
hi Chaz - was standing on dry ground for the lunge-feeding humpback photo
hamie

Social climber
Thekoots
Aug 14, 2014 - 11:20am PT
Lots of great climbing in Whales.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 14, 2014 - 01:21pm PT
lots of these shots are just lucky flukes
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 14, 2014 - 09:39pm PT
another orca in the San Juans

Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 23, 2014 - 03:10pm PT
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 21, 2014 - 09:16am PT
in a short walk along Westcliff drive here in Santa Cruz saw at least 10 humpback whales yesterday afternoon. Here is one lungefeeding about 200 yards off shore.

http://giphy.com/gifs/humpback-lunge-feeding-ToMjGpmZ7LTZg6iCZyw

neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Feb 14, 2015 - 06:39pm PT
hey there say, all...

does anyone yet, have more clues, as to why the whales have beached...

i have read of other stories in the past, at a different location, etc...


here is the link i just saw, on a yahoo page...
THIS is NZ...

http://news.yahoo.com/100-pilot-whales-dead-zealand-stranding-060227833.html


ALWAYS sad to see... was this ever common place, or occasional, or, rare,
back centuries ago, or not...


just wondering if there are 'whale type folks in the know' here...

thank you...
L

climber
California dreamin' on the farside of the world..
Feb 15, 2015 - 09:44am PT
Mike--Your photos take my breath away. And you get most of those from land!
Lucky flukes...hardy-har-har!

TGT--that vid of a dolphin and whale playing is priceless. I found it interesting and sadly depressing that scientists think the "play" behavior is symbolic of the complex interconnectedness of species like these, as opposed to being symbolic of their superior intelligence.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Feb 15, 2015 - 01:23pm PT

About a year ago the family did a trip to Ojo de Liebre Lagoon. Amazing to say the least. I still need to put together the photos and videos. I have some awesome underwater go pro footage of my son petting the whales under water.

The whales like kids so my son attracted them more than anyone else on the boats. It's so cool that some of the whales will approach you and allow you to pet them. The mothers will even get under that babies and push them up to you.

One of the most amazing things I've ever done, up there with playing with molten lava in Hawaii, gorilla tracking in Uganda, and climbing El Cap.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Feb 15, 2015 - 03:58pm PT
PLACE: Kohala Coast off the Big Island of Hawai'i

I was solo scuba diving off Puako Beach with the sea turles, but I could see an endless stream of humpback whales swimming parallel to the shore about 200 yards out.

During my dives the whale songs filled my ears the entire time.

So I decided to swim out to where the whales were swimming, and hang out underwater as they swam by me.

Unfortunately I never saw a whale while I was out there. The whale songs were so loud that I thought they'd be right over my shoulder, but I never saw them.

So I decided to sink to the bottom and chill out and enjoy the whale songs. The water was about 120 - 130 feet deep where I dropped to the sand.

I got really awesome case of nitrogen narcosis at that depth, and I reclined on my back, looking up at the surface, and listened to whale songs with a really good buzz going.

What a day.
L

climber
California dreamin' on the farside of the world..
Feb 15, 2015 - 05:39pm PT
I got really awesome case of nitrogen narcosis at that depth

That's funny SLR. My diver friends say that when they're ready to check out, that's the way they'll do it. Painless and laughing to the end.
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
Feb 15, 2015 - 05:50pm PT
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 20, 2015 - 10:22am PT
Orcas off Saturna Island last week. You will get a larger version if you click on the images.

L

climber
California dreamin' on the farside of the world..
Aug 21, 2015 - 10:09am PT
Nice orca shots, Mike!

I love the spyhoppers.
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Aug 22, 2015 - 04:51pm PT
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/aug/22/alaska-fin-whale-die-off-mystery
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 13, 2015 - 10:30pm PT
This time of year (including today) we have lunge-feeding humpbacks within 100m of the popular walk along West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz. What a great place to live...

pyro

Big Wall climber
Calabasas
Sep 14, 2015 - 08:04am PT
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Sep 14, 2015 - 10:27am PT
Week before last we saw 2 Orca pods in Prince William sound. The largest male in the bunch breached completely out of the water, with a 180 spin, twice in about 2 min. Very Special!
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Sep 14, 2015 - 10:56am PT
Something you don't see everyday....

Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 14, 2015 - 12:34pm PT
I don't know guyman, I've now seen it twice today just on this page!
pyro

Big Wall climber
Calabasas
Sep 14, 2015 - 01:58pm PT
Mike Bolt my buddy Wesley was checking it out in the morning then Guyman checked it out in the afternoon. pretty damn kool!
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Sep 14, 2015 - 02:55pm PT
Here's my best "whale-watching while kayaking" shot. Risso's in Monterey, video grab. They were breaching all around and spy-hopping, clearly checking me out.


I always thought those scars were from each other, not squid. But maybe it's a bit of both since so much white accumulates around the face. From Sarah Allen's book (which my friend Sophie Webb illustrated):

"when healing, the skin of the Risso's Dolphin loses its pigmentation. Scars can accumulate over time and can make the dolphin look as if it were spattered by white paint...the scarring that begins when they become subadults is mostly linear, although some marks are circular. It is thought that the teeth of other Risso's Dolphins during play or fighting may cause the linear scars."

PS - Depending on the weather, I'm planning on paddling a bit in the area during the week leading into Thanksgiving, Sunday-Wed. I might head up to Sonoma/Mendo for a few days, but I'll be back to do Cannery Row with my girlfriend that Wednesday. Or I might just stick around the Monterey Bay area the whole time. If anybody wants to form a small armada, lemme know.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 14, 2015 - 04:12pm PT
http://www.santacruzwaves.com/videos/humpback-whale-breaches-on-top-of-kayakers/

wear your helmet Willoughby...

ps. great shot of the Rissos
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Sep 14, 2015 - 04:40pm PT
Mike.... I was talking about my wife LOL

Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Sep 14, 2015 - 09:14pm PT
Wow, that video is scary! The 10-15 foot Risso's make me nervous enough. Wouldn't want one of those leviathans coming down on me!! Heck, I wouldn't even want one surfacing under me in my boat. But it looks like that was a near miss followed, or more probably concurrent, with a capsize. The smiles say it all!

Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 15, 2015 - 08:20am PT
Humpbacks don't echo-locate, Risso's do. I bet the Risso's knows exactly where you are and the humpbacks have no idea kayaks are around

EDIT: Risso's are really cool dolphins. Big, fast, active. Usually they are out beyond normal kayak range. Wonderful that you got to interact with them that way
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Sep 15, 2015 - 12:08pm PT
The Risso's clearly know, and they're curious. They come straight at you like Orca, diving under the boat and making a shallow pass. Spy-hopping, breaching, all that stuff. The humpbacks probably don't care so long as nobody's got a harpoon out. I suppose some of the old-timers still remember that though - it was only 1971 that the last whaling station in California shuttered its operation. But I think most are just oblivious. Seems like breaching/bumping accidents like this are becoming a little more common: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-31849179

neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Mar 25, 2016 - 11:35am PT
hey there say, ... bump for L ...
AND for whales, :)



ps, THANK you, L... got it... thank you very kindly
for getting back to me... :)
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Mar 25, 2016 - 11:47am PT

Awesome shots...

A Norwegian video:

[Click to View YouTube Video]
nature

climber
Boulder, CO
Mar 25, 2016 - 01:15pm PT
Is this thread a reference to these of us in the diet challenge?
L

climber
Just livin' the dream
Apr 17, 2019 - 04:44pm PT
Mike: I bet the Risso's knows exactly where you are and the humpbacks have no idea kayaks are around.

Well, my experience is that humpies know exactly where you and your kayak/SUP/board are.

Last October we were out in a sea kayak with a group from REI. Marine layer was coming in, so we were discusing turning back and paddling Elkhorn Slough.

Suddenly our kayak was hit by something--and lifted a good 4 feet into the air! I was in the stern trying to keep us from flipping, and looked over the side to see the backs of TWO humpbacks (a momma and baby) as they dropped into the well below us.

We'd just righted ourselves (amazingly we didn't dump), when 15 feet away, the mom did a couple of vigorous tail slaps. Everything points to the fact that those whales knew what they were doing...had she done those slaps any closer, we would have been smashed. And truthfully, they took us up and let us down with what can only be described as "gentleness".

The 3 REI guides and half the participants were rightfully envious...it was a remarkable experience (yes, I had been praying to Neptune for it!) and we didn't even get soaked.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 17, 2019 - 05:10pm PT
what an experience L. Only get those a few times in life.
Zay

climber
Monterey, Ca
Apr 18, 2019 - 08:22am PT
wish i had known about this thread earlier, spent the last 3 years as the captain of a whale watching boat. ive deleted thooooousands of pictures thinking "meh, ill always take more..."

here is a whale story.

North American Transient Killer Whales hunt the calves of other, larger whales (notably gray whales). Every spring, while gray whale mothers escort their newborns up from Baja to Alaska, hundreds of young fall prey to the orca (whose scientific name translates to "Demon From Hell.")

One spring we found ourselves marveling at a hunt, while a dozen orcas swarmed a mother gray who tried desperately to protect her newborn. They ram, they bite: they succeed in drowning the calf. At this point, the killer whales turn their attention to the mother, and harass her until she gives up.

Grieving mother makes a turn for our boat, which is situated 100 yards away as reccomended by the coast guard and NOAA. She swims as if to pass within ten or fifteen feet which is the case sometimes as humpbacks and grays will sometimes use the boat to delicately scratch their backsides. I've had hundreds of grays, humpbacks, and blue whales swim within petting distance of the boat (on their own volition) and thus thought nothing was amiss... until the mother rolled on her side, wound up her tail, and delivered a nasty blow the the stern.

BAM. Everyone stumbles.

"Shit!" I said aloud as the gray swims off

I check all compartments, and find that the only damage is to the rudder posts. The half inch brass keyway that locks the post to the armiture is sheared fully, hence the rudder is doomed to limp freely until i can slide a new keyway into the slot.

No matter: with a second rudder and two engines, steering and parking the boat is still trivial.

I've since heard other stories of gray whale (females) aggressively charging bystanding boats after having lost their babies to killer whales.



Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 18, 2019 - 09:41am PT
It’s difficult to express grief rationally.
L

climber
Just livin' the dream
May 31, 2019 - 11:43pm PT
Bye to the whales.

Thanks for finding this, Neebs!
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