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It’s a Blue Whale Party Out There

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Whale Watching | Mammals

Friday, August 20, 2010

Kera

And there's a minke whale to crash the party

For the last few weeks we’ve been seeing blue whales galore! We’ve had as many as 12 whales in a single trip! Looks like along with the nice weather came the blue whales. And in addition to that, we’ve also seen a breaching minke, and possibly a hybrid blue-fin whale!

It seems that the blue whales have been feeding in somewhat of an unusual place. Typically blue whales feed in deeper water. On average, we find blue whales in a depth of around 1,200 feet. The krill that they feed on lives around 500-700 feet down, so it would make sense that the blue whales would be found in deeper water. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been spotting a ton of whales in very shallow water. The depth has been around 108 feet! Of course one might assume that they’re just hanging out there and not feeding, but we’ve also seen them doing some lunge feeding at the surface and large amounts of krill clumping around!

Within the blue whales we’ve also seen one that looks a little suspicious. What I mean by that is that this one particular whale doesn’t entirely look like a blue whale. There have been blue whale and fin whale hybrids before, and we know for sure there is one off the coast here. The blue whale I saw the other day had an unusually large dorsal fin similar to that of a fin. I chatted with a blue whale expert that’s out tagging and taking data and he also saw it! He agreed that it looked a little different and took a sample. I can’t wait to hear the verdict!

We’ve also seen some breaching whales lately! Roger, who is our ace spotter, was searching for the blows of the whales through his binoculars and not only spotted blue whales, but he saw a blue whale breaching! That’s definitely NOT blue whale behavior. He saw it breach about four times and pointed it out to the guests. It was hard to see in the distance, but you could for sure see something huge coming out of the water. I didn’t get to see it but I heard it looked like a submarine coming out of the water!

We also had a breaching minke whale! Minke whales are the smallest of the baleen whales and have been known to get acrobatic from time to time. Our Photo ID intern, Mark, got a GREAT shot!

Just because the summer is almost over and it’s back to school time, that doesn’t mean things are slowing down on the water. If anything, they’ve picked up quite a bit. Now is the perfect time to join us on the water and go in search of some of these incredible animals!

It’s a Blue Whale Party Out There
Our Photo ID intern, Mark, captures a minke whale breach!  | Mark Prator
It’s a Blue Whale Party Out There
The dorsal fin on this whale is abnormally large for a blue whale and might be a blue-fin hybrid!  | Kera Mathes

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