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Humpbacks Here and Humpbacks There!

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Animal Updates | Mammals | Conservation | Education | Whale Watching

Saturday, March 01, 2014


Humpbacks Here and Humpbacks There!
Incredibly close breach shot of a humpback off the coast of Kona, Hawaii  | Kera Mathes

While we spend a lot of time on the water in SoCal, we also like to travel to other places to see and learn about whales. Kera Mathes, our boat programs coordinator, and I recently took a long vacation to the Big Island of Hawaii, where I used to live. We spent ten days in Hilo and Kona looking for whales! We had many incredible experiences, and captured some great moments with the migrating humpback whales and even spent time with spinner dolphins, manta ray,s and Hawaiian green sea turtles. We also had the pleasure of meeting other boat captains and naturalists on the Kona side and visiting my alma mater to talk to the students about cetacean internship opportunities, especially our photo ID internship program. On the boats, we were able to listen to the humpbacks vocalizing and singing, saw several cow/calf pairs, saw males running to compete with each other, and heard tons of trumpeting out of the water. I included some amazing photos that Kera shot while on a multitude of boats in search of cetaceans!

Meanwhile, the whales here in Long Beach have been sighted daily! It’s been gray whale city out there, seeing either southbounders or northbounders. Now that we are approaching March, we will start to see many northbounders who have completed their business in Baja, or are in tow with their business; a new calf! We have even seen quite a few calves, and are still seeing many breaches! We have also been seeing tons of Pacific white sided dolphins interacting with gray whales. The whales will stop and roll around in the water with the dolphins, and I wish we knew what was going on in their brains to know what these interactions mean. Several whales traveling together have also delighted guests with some great shots of multiple whales surfacing and fluking together. We have also had a few humpback whale sightings as well! I guess you don’t always have to go to Hawaii to see them, since we have a small stock of them that feed off of our coast. One of the humpback whales we saw was very curious about the boat and came rather close and also surprised the guests with tail slapping and breaches.

Blue whales have already been reported in the area as well, maybe scouting the area for krill before the rest appear come summer. Fin whales have also been out and about and been sighted very frequently along with Pacific white sided, common, and bottlenose dolphins. We are still getting fantastic winter weather here in Long Beach and why not spend the nice sunny days out on the water with these amazing creatures? Follow this link to research your tickets. We are now offering early morning whale watches on the weekends at 9:00 a.m.!

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