As California experienced a 4.7 magnitude earthquake, humpback whales in the area began to breach. The earthquake was not large enough to cause human casualties, but it must have been disturbing enough to cause whales to come up out of the water. The shocks could be felt as far north as San Jose.
The sightings happened for passengers aboard a Blue Ocean Whale Watch boat. The sightseers were watching humpback whales when all of a sudden the earthquake happened. Exactly when it happened, they witnessed three whales breach.
The Blue Ocean Whale Watch posted the occurrence on Facebook. The post stated, “Two distant pairs were double breaching and a single whale breached as well. Then suddenly the whales [we] were watching double-breached. We later found out this all happened at the same time as a 4.8 earthquake, whose epicenter was only 35 miles away, generated sound underwater in Monterey Bay. This obviously could have been a coincidence, but the timing was uncanny! Whales have excellent hearing and their surface activity could have been in response to the earthquake.”
Seven Whales Were Spotted Breaching During The Earthquake
Kate Cummings, a captain with the organization, told For The Win Outdoors that this was an unprecedented event to witness. Kate Cummings is a captain with The Blue Ocean Whale Watch. Cummings said, “All in all, seven whales within four miles of us were breaching like crazy. I’m usually very skeptical of these sorts of things and lean toward it being a coincidence, but something that pushes me back the other way is the fact that the whales haven’t been very surface active in general this year.”
One naturalist, Kaitlyn Taylor thinks that the breaching was because of noise generated by the quake. The noise may have been coming out of an underground canyon. “As soon as we said on the radio that the whales were going nuts in every direction, another captain said they had received an earthquake notice,” Taylor said.
Whatever the case may be, the people on board the boat got quite a show. And thanks to Kate Cummins of the Blue Ocean Whale Watch, we can all enjoy the photos.