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The Blues are Here!

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Animal Updates | Mammals | Education | Whale Watching

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Julien

The Blues are Here!
A blue whale taking a deep dive.  | Erik Combs

Hello whale lovers! Yes, that is right! The blue whales are here and thrilling guests before the season even officially starts! We have been seeing quite a few blues AND fins out there feeding on HUGE patches of krill. The krill is so abundant, that we have even been seeing it on the surface in thick, red patches. Where there are krill patches, there is lunge feeding! We have been seeing blues and fins lunging for their food right at the surface right in front of the guests on board!

I have been super fortunate to be physically on the boat several times this month training the new photo ID interns for the summer blue whale season. I have seen lots of blues, fins, a humpback whale breaching and tail slapping at the surface, lunge feeding, dolphins, and my favorite thing of all, blue whale poop! I get really nerdy when we get to see something so awesome as a blue whale going to the bathroom. It comes out in large red patches (just like the krill patches we see at the surface) since all they eat are krill! This is important and a natural fertilizer for the ocean.

Our interns have been hard at work to match and identify the handful of blues we have already seen and we have been able to conclude that we have been seeing the same whales over the last couple of weeks! Now, we have to see if we can match these whales to the extensive Cascadia Research Collective’s catalog to discover if we have these whales already cataloged. It’s a fun process! Our new interns are Jackie, Brayden, Lindsey, Diana, and Kailey! We also have brought on a new citizen science volunteer, Jeremiah, who will be processing photos of bottlenose dolphins and trying to ID them as well.

We have some incredible photos from recent sightings in this week’s blog by Captain Erik Combs, Tim Hammond, and Joshua Meza-Hidalgo from Harbor Breeze.

We are officially in blue whale season and would like to see some new faces searching for whales with us. Harbor Breeze also has a new, beautiful whale watch vessel in their fleet, La Espada, that is shiny and comfortable to enjoy your experience on! So, why wait? Get your tickets now to see the most amazing animals off of our coast. Here is a link that will take you to the page to purchase tickets.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more animal updates, and photos from our interns!

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