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Exciting times in the water; rare whales spotted, juvenile white sharks return

Exciting times in the water; rare...

CENTRAL COAST, Calif. - A rare sight off the shores of the Central Coast this week. On Saturday, a group of people on a tour with Monterey Bay Whale Watch spotted two groups of Baird's Beaked Whales ten miles southwest of Carmel Bay.

According to a marine biologist with Monterey Bay Whale Watch, these types of whales live in the deep waters offshore. Nancy Black said they can dive up to 10,000 feet and hold their breath for up to an hour. When they were spotted on Saturday, they were lying on the surface of the water, recovering from a previous dive. She believes they were following a food source to the area, possibly squid.

"In 30 years, I've seen them maybe 15 times or so," Black said. "Normally quite a ways out, probably 20 to 50 miles offshore but every once in a while they'll come in a little bit closer because we do have a submarine canyon here. The Monterey Canyon is the deepest and largest canyon on the West Coast, so every once in a while, they'll come in close because we do have deep water close to shore."

While this was happening in one part of the Central Coast, in another part, juvenile white sharks were observed near the northern part of Monterey Bay. Researchers from the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation have been going out and trying to identify them.

"We're working on identifying individual sharks documenting with GoPro cameras," executive director Sean van Sommeran said. "Is it male? Is it female? Does it fit into a generational category? Look for tags, individual identification of animals through their scars and marks."

No word how long the sharks will stay, but while they are here, they are commonly seen between Manresa State Beach and the Cement Ship at Seacliff State Beach.

He doesn't believe there are more sharks in the water, rather more people reporting them. That being said, not seeing any sharks should be a cause for concern.
 


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