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The Blues are Breaking the Record!

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Whale Watching | Mammals

Friday, September 03, 2010


The last three weeks of whale watching have been some of the most intense I’ve ever seen here in Long Beach! We’re averaging about 15 whales a trip with a mixture of mostly blue whales and fin whales. In the three summers we’ve been doing this, it’s never been like this!

I’ve been going through our records for the last few summers and it looks like we were averaging around 6-8 whales for each trip prior to this year. It’s more than doubled this year. I’m sure a huge question to be asking is “why?” I’m sure the main reason is because of the food. Whales of this magnitude must continue to eat in order to sustain their size. These are the two largest animals in the world, maxing out at around 380,000 lbs. They’re going to go where the food is most abundant and that seems to be here. Lucky for us!

We’ve also been seeing some major lunge feeding as well! I love it when the krill is at the surface…that’s a good indicator that there will be more activity that we’ll be able to watch. If you’re not familiar with lunge feeding, basically what happens is the whale feeds at the surface where the krill is. They engulf these huge swarms of krill and you get to see their huge throats expand as they roll and take in the water and food. This is also a great opportunity to try and spot their baleen! Although the krill normally isn’t at the surface, it seems like it has been lately.

If you’re interested in joining us on the boats, the blue whales are here and ready to be seen. With all this feeding going on, you’ll have to excuse them if they forget their manners and feed with their mouths open!

The Blues are Breaking the Record!
A blue whale upside down lunging for krill at the surface. The mouth is wide open!  | Kera Mathes
The Blues are Breaking the Record!
A blue whale's dorsal fin is like a finger print. I know we've seen this whale a few times over the summer!  | Kera Mathes

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