There has been lots of buzz lately about our recent shark sightings! We have been seeing a few sharks that have been identified as hammerhead species swimming at the surface during our trips! We believe we have been seeing a species shark called a smooth hammerhead, which is the second largest hammerhead. In earlier blogs, I have talked about hammerheads, but you can check out some of the photos from last year and from this week as well. This summer, not only are we seeing some hammerheads, but blues on the daily!
We have been seeing blues every day, and even seeing some calves traveling and feeding alongside their mothers. The blue whale calves that we see are not newborns, or even small for that matter! Blue calves are the biggest babies in the world, literally, but by the time we see them, they are often hard to differentiate from their enormous mothers. The few blue whale studies that have been done have shown that the mothers tend to move to Central America to give birth to their young, and by the time they get to our coast, the calves are about 6-7 months old. Again, the reason why we have blues is the incredible krill availability and up-welling occurring off of our coast. This increased food availability not only attracts the largest animals on Earth, but a multitude of species that make whale watching, and marine-ecotourism in general, more spectacular during our summer months.
Breaching minke and humpback whales as well as leaping bottlenose and common dolphins have also been increasing the excitement of our trips! For those who are bird lovers or birders, we have also been seeing a few brown booby birds, which are very rare to see off of our coast. You never know what you will see on a whale watch but right now, you would have a VERY good chance of seeing blue whales and other amazing marine wildlife as you can see by this weeks fantastic photos taken by Tim Hammond, Erik Combs, and the Aquarium photo ID interns. There is still lots of sunshine even though the summer is coming to an end, so come on out with us on a whale watching adventure.