My photos from our follow-up whale watching excursion:
You first see the white misty spout of breath above the blue of the ocean.
The mist in this pic is from a baby Humpback whale. On the right you can see the mother whale's blowholes. Their breath actually smells like fish!
These Humpbacks were moving pretty quickly. We didn't see them breach, but what a treat to spend a few moments with the massive and majestic mammals!
And just when we were satisfied with our multi-whale spotting success, along came several large pods of dolphins.
These aren't your average Flipper-friendly dolphin. These are a big, husky 'don't mess with us' species called Risso's Dolphin. Normally, these dolphins don't come near boats, but this particular pod was rather accommodating.
It is tough to see how animated these Risso's were being simply from photos. They were jumping high into the air and smacking their tails on the water. I'll try and upload some great video I captured of the dolphins playing.
And of course, the sea otters are always cute and photogenic:
Experience courtesy of Whale Watching Tours by Stagnaro Charters in Santa Cruz, CA