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A Weekend Whale Picnic

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Whale Watching | Mammals

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Kera

Krill is on the menu

Large groups of blue whales have been moving all around Southern California the last few weeks. At one point we had over 20 whales around the oil rigs. Although the group has moved around and spread out a little bit, there are still a ton of blue whales in the area. Just this past weekend we had a phenomenal day on the water where we got to see a great show of lunge feeding at the surface!

I think this has by far been a summer with more lunge feeding than I’ve ever seen. The krill seems to be moving to the surface causing the blue and fin whales to be eating in an area that’s easy for us to watch. Normally these whales will feed in the deeper water where the krill is found. The average depth for feeding is around 700ft! I knew that it was going to be a great day on the water when I saw a lot of red patches at the surface. Those red patches are swarms of thousands of krill.

It was absolutely amazing to see this kind of activity at the surface like we did this last weekend. We had one blue whale come up right next to the boat with its mouth wide open, roll on its side, and look right at us! I was yelling “there’s her eye…she’s looking at us!” Now although I call the whale a her, there’s actually no way for me to know if it is a male or female unless it were to roll upside down where I could see her underside. The female would have two extra slits for the mammary glands for nursing.

If you make it out onto the boats with us, one thing I would recommend bringing is polarized sunglasses. This helps to reduce the glare of the sun off the water and lets you really see under the water! I was able to share my sunglasses with guests on board so they could look at the krill a little better. You can literally see them moving around in these patches. It’s no wonder the blues and fins are spending so much time at the surface!

If you’re interested in looking for some krill and surface feeding whales, now is a great time! And if you don’t bring polarized glasses, I promise to share mine!

A Weekend Whale Picnic
Look at the birds next to the blue whale!  | Kera Mathes
A Weekend Whale Picnic
These are phalaropes, or the "blue whale birds". They're feeding on krill. These are the same birds in the previous picture next to the whale!  | Kera Mathes

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Eduardo Gonzalez

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 04:56 PM

Hi, I went with my wife and little daugther last thursday (sept 16) and we saw rigth in front of us the whale rolling and opening his/her mouth, all the adventure was great. Needless to say that spending a day with you was far better than being in Disney. Thank you for one of the best days in our lives. (sorry my english is not very good)

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