Some of the first blue whales of 2012 in Southern California were spotted today on board the Christopher out of Harbor Breeze Cruises in Long Beach. Captain Carl Mayhugh and a group of lucky whale watchers came across a pair of blue whales near the Huntington Beach oil gigs. The whales fluked for the group a couple of times as they made their way around the rigs on the noon trip.
There have been numerous reports of an abundance of krill in Southern California waters recently which is a favorite food source of the might blue whale. While this may be a tad early for the leviathans to arrive in sunny California, the presence of vast quantities of krill may not only attract the giants but may make them less likely to leave.
Blue whales are the largest creatures to have ever inhabited the face of the earth. They can reach over 100 feet in length; that's three school buses. They have hearts the size of a Volkswagen and a tongue that weighs as much as an elephant. Adult blue whales weigh between 200-300,000 pounds.
Blue whales became a much sought after species for their large amounts of blubber. The killing reached a peak in 1931 when 29,649 blue whales were taken. By 1966, blues were so few that the International Whaling Commission declared them protected throughout the world. Today, there are between 8,000-9,000 blue whales in the oceans endangered species.
On the 3 p.m. trip on board the Christopher, Captain Mayhugh reported seeing 2 minke whales and 1 blue whale.
Seeing a blue whale in the wild is a one of a kind outdoor experience. To come face to face with this agile, enormous and enigmatic creature is something you will never forget. Hopefully, this is just the start of another incredible blue whale watching season.
Photos: File photos courtesey of Harbor Breeze Cruises
MORE ON PHILIP FRIEDMAN OUTDOOR NEWS: