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What a Summer We are Having!

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Animal Updates | Mammals | Conservation | Education | Whale Watching

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Julien

What a Summer We are Having!
One of the playful humpback whales showing us their baleen!  | Aquarium of the Pacific

Hello whale fans! I am back and am so excited to report all the cetacean activity we have been having this summer! If you have had a chance to go out on the water then you may have an idea of how thrilling our trips have been. If you have not, you should take a few hours to see some amazing marine life with us! Blues, fins, minkes, humpbacks, dolphins, mola molas and even a thresher shark! Since the first of August, we have had a whopping 118 blue whale sightings. This averages out to about six blue whale sightings every day. Blues have been out there perusing for krill, surfacing close to the boat, and showing a lot of fluke! We have not seen much surface lunge feeding this summer as we have in the past which mean the krill is a little deeper.

The surface lunge feeding we have been seeing has been coming from our numerous humpback whale sightings! We have had a few adults and a cow/calf pairs off of our coast taking advantage of the food availability and giving quite a show. Breaching, spy hopping and lots of curious close encounters with the mom and baby have delighted our guests and the crew as well! When I was out on the water earlier this week I even screamed a little with joy as the cow allowed her calf to get so close to the Christopher to check us out. Minke whales and fin whales have also been gracing us with their presence every so often, especially around the feeding blues and humpbacks; you can only guess what they are doing under the water as well.

Some exciting sightings other than our whale-o-palooza have been many toothed whale friends like feeding and traveling common and bottlenose dolphins. We have seen dolphins and even sea lions in very close proximity (literally feet away) from the huge baleen whales. Maybe they are feeding on the fish that are attracted by the abundance of krill, or maybe they are just curious of our visiting giants? Mola mola (Pacific Sunfish) have also been sighted on numerous occasions with their strange, alien-like flat bodies floating at the surface. Super cool!

One of the most interesting sightings we had was not from a blue or humpback whale, but from a gray whale earlier this month! What is this gray whale still doing in Long Beach while the rest of his species have already made it back to Alaska? Well, apparently, this is a very tardy gray whale who may be a little confused as we saw it inside the harbor near the Queen Mary. We hope this whale eventually finds its way back to Alaska so it can feed. But do not fear, gray whales can feed off our waters and we have seen them feeding in our harbor before making a little pit stop along their way.

Want a chance to see them while they are here? Come out and have an adventure with us out on the beautiful open Pacific Ocean full of life!

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