Maggie: Seeing whales up close is normally pretty exciting, but when a pod of whales made their way into shallow water off the coast of Florida this week, marine experts were just confused and rushed to come to their rescue.
A pod of about 30 pilot whales were first spotted Tuesday afternoon in shallow water in Everglades National Park. The whales are in a very remote and difficult to reach section of the park. Experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with volunteers and park employees, scrambled to rescue the whales. But some have already died.
The pilot whales usually live in deep water around the Gulf of Mexico.
Alright. Now, Tom Hanson is here, and he has another story about whales. Only, this one is causing a scene that actually has people getting pretty excited.
Tom: Yeah, Maggie. Well, many people are saying it is unlike anything they have ever seen. And it is all because of one little fish that is causing a big splash.
On California’s Monterey Bay you don’t really need these to see these.
Whale watcher: Oh my God!
Tom: Humpback whales, dozens of them, are everywhere, blowing away even experienced whale watchers such as Karen Sheffer.
Karen Sheffer: It’s never been like this. This is phenomenal!
Tom: There are also dolphins and hundreds of sea lions. They are chasing an unexplained explosion of anchovies in the bay. Killer whales showed up to hunt the sea lions. Tourists and scientists have never seen anything quite like it.
Nancy Black: There’s easily over a hundred to 200 whales in Monterey Bay. So this is like, you know, just so exceptional. We just can’t even believe it.
Tom: Nancy Black is a marine biologist and captain of this whale watching boat.
Nancy: Looking pretty good.
Tom: She says most of the humpback whales should have already left for their winter breeding grounds in Mexico but couldn’t pass up this fish feast.
Monterey Bay is located about 100 miles south of San Francisco, California and it is right along the migration path for a lot of humpback whales. Just before winter, they travel from their habitats up north near Alaska and Canada down to warmer waters. And because of the large amounts of anchovies this year in Monterey Bay, they have decided to make little pit stop on their way to their breeding grounds.
Nancy: It’s a struggle between food and mating. I mean, it’s like, which one?
Tom: Sea lions help the whales feed by chasing the anchovies into tight balls of fish. The whale simply opens its mouth, swallowing up to two tons of anchovies each day.
Nancy: So I’m just trying to tell the people how lucky they are to really witness this.
Tom: She knows that this sea life show will inevitably end. For now, she says, just enjoy the view.
Now, experts say that gray whales will also be joining the sea party in the coming weeks.
Maggie: That has got to be an incredible sight!