Amid an eerie haze of smoke, whales emerge to feed

A surreal haze that has prevailed across portions of California this week also has spread across coastal waters, casting marine critters in an unearthly light.

The accompanying images, captured Wednesday by Blue Ocean Whale Watch in Monterey Bay, show humpback whales and a Risso’s dolphin in what Capt. Kate Cummings described as “a natural sepia filter” created by wildfires.

“Yes, it was apocalyptic on the ocean too; and no, it didn’t stop the humpbacks from being humpbacks,” Cummings wrote in a video post on Facebook.

Cummings’ charter encountered humpback whales and Risso’s dolphins as a patchy orange sky darkened considerably in late afternoon.

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“My instrument panel lights were visible the entire day, when typically you can only see the lights before or after sunset,” Cummings told For The Win Outdoors. “It was surreal to say the least.”

The mammals weren’t always easy to spot in such conditions.

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“The photographers on board had to be watching their ISO settings constantly, at one point up to ISO 4,000 to adjust to the low light,” Cummings said. “It was eerie, creepy, and sometimes beautiful.”

The entire Bay Area – and many other areas in California – have been affected by smoke from wildfires for the past several days.

Cummings said conditions improved markedly on Thursday, however, as she motored into Monterey Bay with another charter group.

–Images are courtesy of Eric Austin Yee (top two) and Doug Croft

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Source:: ForTheWin

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