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Sperm Whales Physeter macrocephalus

Sperm whales come to the Monterey Bay to forage in the rich canyon

and this is the whale that is best known as Moby Dick from Herman Melville's classic novel. They tend to be seen on the edge or over the canyon wall as they return from the depths after dive periods that can be as long as 2 hours and 2 miles down.  Yeah, these guys are amazing, but, with long dive periods and never knowing when or where they are going to come up a second viewing may be impractical. However, it's not impossible. I had my best viewing last year with a series of 4 resurfaces near the boat with short dive intervals.

The Sperm whales that come to our area are the independent mature lone bulls and there is no mistaking a Sperm whale at sea. They have the most distinctive blow (exhale) out of all whales. On a calm day their blow will shoot out of the left side of their head paralleling the ocean before it rises into a billowy puff. Why? Well, their knobby blow hole is on the left side of their head looking very odd. To add to these distinctive characteristics, they are dark brownish, often scarred up with wrinkled prune like skin making them look like they've been in a hot bath way too long!

Facts about the Sperm Whale:

Lifespan: Up to 70 years.
Population: Unknown.
Distribution: Worldwide
Diet: quid, fish, various other prey.
Adults: Adult males are larger than females.  
Male Length:  Up to 60' (18.3 m)
Female Length:  Up to 36' (11 m)
Male Weight: Up to 120,000 lb. (57,000 kg)
Female Weight:  Up to 55,000 lb. (24,000 kg)
Weight:  10,000 - 20,000 lb. (Up to 9,200 kg)
Newborns: Length: 13' (4 m)
Weight:  2,200 lb. (1,000 kg)