Saturday, March 26, 2016

Blue Whale!

My wife and I went whale watching out of San Diego on Thursday. It was our first whale watch since our cruise to Alaska in 2013. While we saw humpback whales that time, I wasn't exactly sure what we might catch this time around. San Diego Whale Watch maintains a tote board with the count of what they've seen over the past few days and I noticed that just the day before they encountered a blue whale. I was hoping that we might have similar luck as I've always wanted to see one.
For a while though, it wasn't looking too good, as sea lions and pelicans (along with a few puking whale watchers) being the highlights.
We did catch a few dolphins, but not in large numbers. Just when I thought that the trip was going to be a total bust, we spotted a blue whale. Blue whales are not only the largest of the whales, they are the largest mammal on Earth. They are dinosaur sized.
It is hard to get a sense of scale from the photo above or below, but they are huge--close to 100 feet long and weighing some 150 tons.
Blue whales were heavily hunted and brought to the brink of extinction until such practices were banned in the 1960s, which was why I never thought that I might someday see one.
We got to see it at the surface three times. I caught it going under twice. Once was from fairly far away, but the first time was at a perfect distance. Here's how it looked:
Everyone was pretty happy seeing that. (Note: I used GifMaker for combining the frames.) Here's a crop on one of the frames:
Notice the markings near the whale's fluke. We were told that those were signs of the whale having been injured by a boat some years ago. It certainly makes for distinctive markings today, but I am sure that it wasn't a pleasant experience for the whale when it happened. All-in-all, it was an amazing trip and I'm very happy to have had the chance to see this majestic blue whale.

No comments:

Post a Comment