Thursday, April 02, 2009
Welcome fellow whale lovers! My name is Kera Mathes, and along with Alicia Archer, we will be blogging on all of our amazing adventures on our daily whale watching trips. We get to explore the sea on a 65-foot catamaran with Harbor Breeze Tours every day! Hopefully you’ve had a chance to get on the water with some aquarium staff and volunteers, but if not, check here to see what’s been happening on the water.
Both Alicia and I work in the Education department, along with many other wonderful people. Each day, someone in the department heads over to the dock where we jump on the boat (of course not literally jump!) and take a ride out into the open ocean in search of whales, dolphins, and other marine life. We started this partnership with Harbor Breeze in December of 2007 and have been out on the water ever since. Originally the whale watching trips were based out of Santa Barbara, CA. The Aquarium ran a few trips out of there during the summer, but with so much wildlife right off of the coast of Long Beach, we decided to stay local and go out more frequently.
Each trip out into the Pacific Ocean brings a new experience. We’ve seen a large variety of animals, including killer whales, gray whales, blue whales, Minke whales, humpback whales, sperm whales, Bryde’s whales, bottlenose dolphins, Pacific white sided dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, and common dolphins. We also see our pinniped friends, harbor seals and California sea lions, just like at the Aquarium of the Pacific when you check out Miller in his exhibit! Besides seeing these incredible marine mammals in their natural habitat, we also see a large array of birds and fish, such as mola-mola and even sharks!
As you can see, there have been a lot of sightings! We don’t typically see all of these animals on one trip, as there are quite a few that pass through on their annual migrations. For example, right now is a prime time for gray whale watching. Gray whales spend the summer months up in the northern waters around Alaska and the Bering Sea, and then around November, they start a migration (a trip) down to the lagoons in Mexico for the winter months. In Mexico they calve (give birth) or mate before migrating back up north. Their round trip migration can be more than 12,000 miles!!! Between December and April there is almost a constant flow of gray whales traveling by our coast! In the summer months, we see blue whales hanging out off of Long Beach feeding. They’re usually here between June and September. We see dolphins most of the time as they don’t typically migrate like gray whales and blue whales. As for a majority of the other marine life, we just never know when we’re going to see them. They love to stop in for surprise visits!
Stay tuned as Alicia and I blog about our exciting endeavors. Check back soon for updates on our sightings!
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