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Whales, Sunfish, and Sharks!

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Animal Updates | Mammals | Conservation | Education | Whale Watching

Thursday, July 11, 2013


June was a fun month on the boat with each day being more unpredictable than the next. Some of the highlights of the last month have been sightings of massive sunfish and even a juvenile great white shark! More and more days have been filled with dolphins, sea lions, blues, fins, minkes and warm weather.

Presently, the blues and fins seem to be slowly headed our way. We’ve had a few sightings the last week and are hopeful they will continue to increase. As soon as the krill really starts to bloom, the whales will be here! These animals need to eat 8,000 pounds of krill a day, so they will follow wherever their food source leads them. Yet we are still hopeful that our peak season will still be full of feeding blues and maybe some accompanying humpbacks come mid July through September. We are getting so close to that time!

HUGE mola molas (ocean sunfish), four to five hundred pounds at least, have been spotted floating at the surface of the water in random areas. Seeing something that round and large on the surface of the water while we are traveling is always a good reason to stop the boat! Sunfish will lie on their sides to allow seabirds to pick off their parasites and will also occasionally breach out of the water, probably for a similar reason. They will also absorb the sunlight to recharge themselves before they descend back into the depths where they spend most of their lives feeding on sea jellies.

The biggest surprise occurred on June 26th, when our boat happened upon five blue whales AND a juvenile great white shark cruising the surface. In May we were lucky enough to spot a basking shark feeding on plankton at the surface, but this was an incredible sighting indeed! Great whites are local species of sharks, but spend a large majority of their lives hunting and cruising at depths where we cannot see them from the surface. Not many people know that around Santa Monica and Malibu there is a pupping ground for the females which makes So Cal a hub for young whites. This shark was about 10-12 feet and did not mind the presence of the boat! What a sighting!

Dolphins have also been spotted on almost every trip as well; Risso’s, commons and bottlenose! So, come on out on an unexpected adventure and even ride the brand new 83 ft. catamaran the Triumphant for a fast smooth trip! See you there!

Whales, Sunfish, and Sharks!
A back view of the juvenile great white shark cruising at the surface with its dorsal and tail fin.  | Aquarium of the Pacific
Whales, Sunfish, and Sharks!
A profile view of the great white with shots of its dorsal fin and 5 gill slits underwater!  | Aquarium of the Pacific
Whales, Sunfish, and Sharks!
A head-on view of two bottlenose dolphins riding the wake of the boat.  | Aquarium of the Pacific
Whales, Sunfish, and Sharks!
A mother common dolphin and her calf porpoising alongside her.  | Aquarium of the Pacific

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