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Where Have the Whales Been?

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Animal Updates | Mammals | Conservation | Whale Watching

Monday, November 05, 2012


And the blogs too?

If you’ve been following the whale watching this summer and fall in Long Beach, you might have heard that the whales weren’t here like in previous years. Although it’s been a slower blue whale year, the dolphins sure have been keeping us entertained. Read on to find out what’s been going on.

Besides the blue whales missing a little bit this year, so have the blogs the last few weeks. The last few weeks my time has been consumed with a new whale application that will be launching in the near future and will have a whole blog to tell you about it! I can’t wait to share the new and exciting whale happenings here at the Aquarium.

But back to the blue whales… this has been a crazy year. Although over the last couple of months we have had some blue whales, it hasn’t been nearly as full as the last few years. So what is going on? One of the things you might have noticed if you’ve gone to the beach this year is the water was pretty warm! It got up into the 70s!! That’s probably played a pretty big role in the amount of krill that we normally see here in the summer. Remember, blue whales are primarily krill eaters so they are going to go where the food is. If the conditions aren’t right here, we won’t have much krill. Not a lot a krill equals not a lot of blues. Researcher John Calambokidis said that the water is pretty clear out there showing that upwelling has slowed in a lot of areas. It’s that upwelling that helps to drive the krill. Without food, those whales won’t want to stick around. We did hear of a lot of whales pretty far off shore; around 30+ miles. Too far for us to get to, but at least they were off of our coast! I’m hoping that we get some krill here for the last few weeks and maybe we can finish strong. We will see and I promise to keep everyone posted!

We are continuing to look for whales each day and have had some here and there. Our most recent sighting was a cow/calf pair about two weeks ago. While we’re out there looking for the blues, we’re seeing a ton of very acrobatic dolphins! Mostly we’ve been seeing common dolphins and offshore bottlenose. Our interns have gotten some great photos!

In addition to the dolphins, we’ve also had a humpback whale in the area and a gray whale! So although we’re not seeing large amounts of blues, there is still a ton of stuff going on out there in that big ocean! If you’re in the area and want to get on a boat, the tours are still around three hours. On November 16, our trips will shorten slightly to just over two hours as we start gray whale season and look for our annual grays!

Where Have the Whales Been?
A recent blue whale spotted off of Long Beach  | Aquarium photo ID intern
Where Have the Whales Been?
A great picture of a gray whale passing by a little early!  | Aquarium photo ID intern
Where Have the Whales Been?
A playful humpback visits late in the season  | Aquarium photo ID intern
Where Have the Whales Been?
Another bottlenose dolphin has fun jumping out of the water  | Aquarium photo ID intern

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