Sighting a whale from the beach really is one of the most amazing and magical sights in the world. And I’ve had my share of those moments this summer:

HumpbackNewBrightonThis is a humpback whale, lunge feeding less than 20 yards from shore near New Brighton State Beach in Santa Cruz County. The humpbacks showed up a month or so ago, following massive schools of anchovies into the Monterey Bay. I used to get a thrill seeing far-distant spouts from the beach. NEVER did I think whales would show up a stone’s throw away.

Humpbacks need all the food they can get – they feed only during the summertime on schools of sardines, anchovies, and krill. No teeth – they’ve got baleen plates only let in krill and little bait fish. During this feeding season they can eat up to 1.5 tons of food per day, and they travel up to 16,000 miles chasing it during their annual migration from winter breeding grounds in Mexico north toward Alaska and back.

Here’s a couple more photos, this from another humpback at Platforms last week:

PlatformsHumpback3 PlatformsHumpback2

Beach life is filled with such magical moments. We are lucky to have the moments to bear witness and appreciate them.