Critically Endangered Fin Whales spotted in Monterey Bay

Article and Photos by: Giancarlo Thomae

On May 2, I observed 8 critically endangered Fin Whales in the Monterey Bay. This is the 4th time I have seen these whales in the Monterey Bay in my career. Fin Whales are spotted about 1% as often as Blue Whales in our waters. Blue Whales have been spotted several times in the last week and there are currently an estimated 60 humpback whales in the bay. Fin Whales scarce numbers and enormous size make this a very exciting event.


A critically endangered Fin prepares to dive in the Monterey Bay.

Fin Whales are the second largest animal to have ever lived. Often exceeding 75 feet and cruising at over 20 miles per hour have earned these animals the name “Greyhounds of the Sea.” These whales are HERE in our waters feeding on krill, a small shrimplike animal the size of your fingernail. I have been seeing krill swarms two miles wide and 100 feet thick on SONAR. These magnificent animals were hunted to the brink of extinction for their blubber. Many of their conservation issues include entanglements and ship strikes.






2 comments on “Critically Endangered Fin Whales spotted in Monterey Bay

  1. Very cool. We were very lucky to see one during the Nadadores Locos marathon swim relay from Monterey to Santa Cruz on Sunday.

  2. I saw this same group of eight fins off the Big Sur coast just south of Nepenthe on May 6 and posted images of the epic scene on my FB page.
    I watch whales from that spot often and these whales even in the early dawn sky looked oddly enormous. The 25 ft + spouts could be heard from well over 1/4 mile away, clearly. Massive beautiful creatures.

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