By Hayley Pugh
These whale watchers were blown away as FOUR huge humpbacks feasted on the fish hiding underneath their boat.
The giant creatures dwarfed the tourist boat which was next to them, as they lunge fed at the surface of the water much to the delight of stunned whale watchers.
The spectacular display, which took place in Monterey Bay, California, saw the four humpback whales joined by sea lions and seagulls as they all battled it out for a taste of the anchovies which were hiding underneath the vessel.
Photographer, Jodi Frediani, was there to capture the action and said the whales came up quite close to the boat.
She said: “The whales, sea lions and birds were having a feast. Those folks got an eye full, that’s for sure.
“We were fortunate to find four humpback whales lunge feeding at the surface, one of the most exciting things to see whales do.
“I was onboard Monterey Bay Whale Watch’s Sea Wolf II, when two of the whales did a feeding lunge, coming up quite close to a boat from another company.”
Lunge feeding is when whales consume a large quantity of prey and water after pushing themselves forward with great force.
They then use a baleen filter-feeding system which act as a giant sieve and allows them to get rid of any excess water.
Jodi added: “Sometimes the anchovies will hide under the boats, attempting go escape from the giant mouths of feeding whales.
“Sometimes they get lucky, at least for a short time. But the whales are experts at what they do, and sooner or later the small fish become lunch or dinner.
“The anchovies gather in a bait ball to escape predators.
“While this works to help protect most of them from diving birds and sea lions, the bait ball is just what humpback whales are searching for. The more compact the fish, the bigger the meal for the whales.
“California sea lions join in the fray picking off stray fish, as the whales lunge up through the bait ball.
“The gulls, always opportunists, wait for stunned fish that then rise to the surface.
“All in all, it was a great day for everyone, except the fish.”