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Hornblower Helping to Reduce the Use of Plastic Straws

Now you can help Hornblower help keep the oceans healthy for wildlife! In support of the nation’s efforts to reduce the amount of “single use” plastics entering the oceans, straws will only be served on request with drinks on our Harbor Tour and Whale Watching cruises. Hornblower has already been using environmentally-friendly food containers and…

San Diego Bay’s Reptilian Residents

green sea turtle

Green Sea Turtle with satellite tag

Did you know Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) are native to San Diego? These aquatic herbivores (vegetarians) are attracted to the bay’s warm, shallow waters where they can find food in the abundant eelgrass beds. The turtles feed on seaweed and sea grasses along the Southern California coast and migrate to nesting grounds off the Pacific Coast of Mexico.

Recently several green turtles have been spotted at several locations within the San Diego Harbor including by the Hornblower boat docks. These include the turtle pictured above, which was released along with several others with satellite tags offshore of San Diego. These green turtles are part of a joint sea turtle tracking study involving researchers from SeaWorld and National Marine Fisheries Service.

 

The Peculiar Mola Mola

MOLAMOLA

When you think of a fish, the Mola mola is probably not what you’d picture. This strange fish has a somewhat circular body that is flattened from side-to-side with no caudal (tail) fin and rudder-like top and bottom fins, which the fish flaps to swim. Mola molas are found in temperate (cool) and tropical waters worldwide and are commonly seen on Hornblower Whale Watching trips off San Diego. It is also called the ocean sunfish due to its habit of lying on its side at the water’s surface. This bizarre behavior may help a mola mola warm up after a deep dive or be done to invite seabirds to peck parasites off its skin. The mola mola also often basks near kelp paddies or in kelp beds to allow small fishes to pick off parasites.

The mola mola is the world’s heaviest bony fish, reaching a maximum weight of 5,000 pounds (2,250 kg)! It remarkably attains this great weight on a diet tons of jellyfish, but also occasionally eats small fishes, squid and other gelatinous creatures such as salps. Although mola mola are not endangered, they often eat floating plastic bags—mistaking them for jellyfish prey—which can choke or suffocate these fish. You can help mola molas by making sure your trash (including plastic bags) is always properly disposed of so that it can’t reach the sea. Even better, bring and use reusable bags whenever you are grocery shopping. By taking these simple steps, you can help keep the oceans healthy for mola molas and other ocean wildlife.