Tag Archive: Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary


http://www.bluewaterventures.org

Sporting bright hues of yellow and a prominent black smudge on their caudal tail, the brightly colored juvenile senoritas are advertizing a service. Like many members of the wrasse family, senoritas are cleaner fish known to pick ectoparasites off of other fish species. Just like at the car wash, fish loaded with parasites will line up near a cleaning station patiently waiting their turn to have hitchhikers removed from their bodies. The tiny mouths of a young senorita are filled with an array of protruding teeth making an ideal tool to extract external parasites or even those embedded in the gills of fish.  Larger fish wishing to be cleaned may change colors; flare out their gills, positioned there heads upward or downward, all indications that they are ready to be serviced by a Senorita.  Frequent visitors to the cleaning station of the Senoritas include bat rays, garbaldis, ocean sunfishes, opaleyes and kelp basses. Cleaning stations provide an ecologically   important niche within a kelp forest community keeping fish healthier by reducing their parasitic load. As adults, Senoritas are known to graze on bryozoans and hydroids that encrust the blades of kelp.

Despite their viable service within a kelp forest community, senoritas like most fish must remain alert to predators that lurk among the blades of kelp. In addition to predation by fish and marine invertebrates, California sea lions or Brandt’s cormorants, may dive among the kelp blades in search of a slender meal, a lovely Senorita.  Like some other wrasses, senoritas have evolved a unique escape strategy.  When threatened, the slim torpedo shaped fish will dive into the sand then peer out among the rubble with only their heads exposed. As light begins to fade and the nocturnal world unfolds, senoritas will take to the sandy bottom again, tucking themselves in among the grains. Buried within the sandy bottom, they will avoid nighttime predators and wait for the arrival of light signaling their safe return to an established cleaning arena.

Man In the Gray Suit

Man in the Gray Suit
Also known as the Landlord……love being home paddling among our humpback whales of Monterey Bay and a few more elusive species.
Rebecca and I paddled out about 3 miles from Moss Landing Harbor. Beautiful sea conditions, ideal for whale and wildlife sightings. We were hopeful and eventually in awe when 1/2 dozen humpback whales were sighted.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Smelling a slight stench, we noticed a massive slick of dead anchovies which stirred up a feeding frenzy of birds and a few overly anxious sea lions…..off in the distance several humpback whales surfaced.
Glancing back towards the fish slick, a large dark dorsal fin approximately 2-3 feet high suddenly emerged among the fish goo. My thoughts instantly raced through a series of possibilities. Within seconds I realized we were kayaking with a truly impressive apex predator, a great white shark!
Bill Pullen who was with us confirmed my thoughts and said, “Yeah, that’s a big one” based on his recent sightings of juvenile white sharks while surfing around Santa Cruz county. How Big is Big? Large female white sharks may exceed 20 feet in length which would dwarf our tandem kayak but who knows….we just saw the impressive dorsal fin.
I have paddled Monterey Bay for over 20 years and today was my first good look at the stealthy predator, the Landlord of the Sea! Love the wonders of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Join us on a naturalist-led adventure at http://www.bluewaterventures.org. Our next whales and wildlife paddle leaving from Moss Landing is October 1st.

Orcas of Monterey Bay

http://www.bluewaterventures.org

Orcas of Monterey Bay…..Finally after many years of searching, we found Orcas! 32 women on our private Blue Water Ventures charter with Sanctuary Cruises got to witness an unbelievable show! Several pods of Orcas, also known as killer whales had converged together south of Moss Landing.

Thanks to the amazing crew at http://www.sanctuarycruises based in Moss Landing. Join our next adventure in search of sea otter pups and baby gray whales next weekend at http://www.bluewaterventures.org!

http://www.bluewaterventures.org

http://www.bluewaterventures.org
bDSC02517What an extraordinary day on the Bay! The whale activity continues to be awesome and I would recommend a camera with a good zoom! Keep adjusting your position and be alert to changes both in weather and whales. Paddling in the fog is treacherous and motorboats can’t see you. Viewing wildlife from from our beaches is excellent now or paddle with an expeirenced partner or guide.
It’s busy out there and not for inexperienced boaters. In fact, in the last 3 weeks we’ve heard reports of paddlers getting into trouble, hoping to get out to the whales. The supermoon brought extreme tidal changes with a dangerous ebb flow out the harbor mouth where boaters dumped and were flushed out to sea.

DSC02515The humpbacks are diving to feed at depth as well as lunge feeding at the surface. Using their plates of baleen that hangs from the upper jaw, they filter out their prey of choice, currently anchovies.
The cliffs above Mitchel’s Cove, West Cliff of Santa Cruz still has regular visits by ” Mitch” a humpback whale who will lunge feed in 10 feet of water, 30 feet from shore! People are lining up on shore for the best view ever and its free!

Humpback Whales of Monterey Bay

Outstanding close encounter with a mother and calf Humpback whale today!

It is  a truly remarkable  honor to live on the edge of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

DSC01947 DSC01931 2Coined the “Serengeti of the Sea”, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary lies within a biologically rich pathway intersecting the migration patterns of an array of marine mammals, sea birds and even our planet’s largest sea turtle, the leatherback. 34 species of marine mammals are found within out extraordinary sanctuary, the largest federally protected marine reserve in the United States.

Several days ago on a naturalist-led adventure with Blue Water Ventures we kayaked among a dozen Humpback Whales. Reaching a length of 45 feet and weighing 80,000 pounds we were truly humbled by their gentle presence.

Today was another outstanding day aboard Sanctuary Cruises as we experienced an array of whale behavior from pectoral slapping, tail slaps, lunge feeding and a spectacular double breach. Using a hydrophone we could hear the underwater vocalization of the humpbacks and above water the erie sound of  trumpeting whales. Humpback whales  are known to trumpet, a  shrieking balloon like  sound emitted through their blowhole when under stress such as an predatory attack or when excited by food.  The abundance of anchovies  In Monterey Bay right now seemed to be a reason to celebrate! Join us on our next naturalist-led adventure with Blue Water Ventures.DSC01984 2

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www.bluewaterventures.org
Looking for a really unique experience for your students? During our adventurous field trip, we’ll slide off our sit on top kayaks to have an eye level experience with Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary! Using goggles or a mask/snorkel, take a look at the kelp forest or choose to remain dry and simply glide over the forest canopy searching for sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions and sea birds. Encompassing 5,322 square miles of ocean, our remarkable sanctuary supports one of the planet’s most biologically diverse marine ecosystems. The use of sit on top kayaks with the option to submerge into the water gives us an entirely different perspective on our ocean world.

This is a great fall field trip! In the spring, we’ll launch our closed deck boats searching the water for migrating California Gray Whales with their plump babies in tow.