Keep Santa Cruz Weird

Photos of the Santa Cruz area

Humpback Santa Cruz

Posted by Dave Dilworth on May-12-12

Humpback whale breaching
West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz

On November 1, the wife and I decided to head over to West Cliff to try to spot a whale. On the way we stopped just south of the marina. We saw a lot of birds in a feeding frenzy just off shore. I knew from my years living on a tiny island between Hawaii and Australia, that meant something large chasing small fish up to the surface. In this case, the Humpbacks were feeding on anchovy. I should not have been surprised that Santa Cruzers flocked to the sight in great numbers. There were a couple of large boats along with numerous surfers and kayakers. I couldn’t believe how the people invaded the whale’s space. When we watch Orcas up in Washington, we have to give the whales a wide berth. If we don’t, our wallets will be substantially lighter when we get dinged by the game warden or coast guard.

It’s a miracle that someone was not injured. We saw one kayaker get knocked out of their kayak when a whale surfaced. It didn’t seem to scare the person any, as they mounted their kayak and continued to try to get as close as possible.

I don’t know why, but I didn’t try to take any photos here. I did get some good views with my spotting scope, however. After the melee subsided we continued on to West Cliff. The 3 photos shown here are the result of our whale watching over there. The whales at West Cliff were way out, so the photos are not very good.

The whales would pound their tails against the surface of the water. I presume it was to call other whales,
as more would show up.


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