A young Gray Whale had been spotted over the weekend by Hornblower’s Captains during some of our Harbor Tours and Dinner Cruises. The small whale has been hanging out near the entrance of the bay off of Ballast Point. This is definitely off season to see Gray Whales, most are feeding up north off the…
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In the past few weeks, Blue Whales have been regularly spotted of the coast of San Diego. Soon, Hornblower Cruises & Events will offer Whale Watching cruises that head out to sea in search of Blues and other baleen whales. Our summer whale watching cruises begin June 29 and run from Fridays to Mondays through the end of summer.
Why are Blue Whales so exciting to watch? These giants are the largest animals on Earth, reaching lengths of 100 feet (about 2/3 of the length of the Adventure Hornblower) and weighing up to 150 tons (slightly less than the weight of the average American house). The Blue Whale’s blow/spout can be 30 feet tall, letting our captains and naturalists spot them from far away. When a Blue Whale surfaces, you typically see the spout first, then the head, then the bluish-gray body, then the tiny dorsal fin, and finally, if you are lucky, the tail flukes lifted above the surface.
What brings Blues to local waters? In summer, the nutrient-rich,coastal waters of Southern California often provide tons and tons of krill. And the abundance of shrimp-like krill, are magnets for hungry whales in search of food. Like Gray Whales and other baleen whales, the Blue Whale has brush-like baleen in its mouth that it uses to strain krill and other tiny clustered prey out from the water. An adult blue whale can consume up to 4 tons of krill per day!
You may have heard that Gray Whales fast during the long migration to and from the breeding grounds and only eat on the northern feeding grounds. So what’s up with the two Gray Whales that were recently seen feeding off the coast of Seal Beach in Southern California? Contrary to common belief, Gray whales sometimes snack along their migration route and even occasionally feed within the calving lagoons in Baja California, Mexico. Just as in their northern feeding grounds, the snacks mostly consist of amphipods (shrimplike crustations), marine worms, and other critters scooped up from sand- and mud- habitats along the shallow seafloor. The tell-tale sign that the whales are feeding, is the mud plumes produced as the whales filter out their tasty snacks from the mud and water.