This month has been super exciting so far with about 18 sightings of blue whales and sightings of breaching baleen whales like minkes, humpbacks, and even fin whales! The seas have continued to be full of life and we have been seeing some interesting animals like big red patches of krill at the surface, huge mola mola’s, and sea turtles!
We were lucky enough to not only see these animals during the trip, but also get some really cool photos. Among the blues, fins, and minkes, we have continued to see humpback whales feeding at the surface, more feeding frenzies, and cow fin and blue whales with their calves! Just a few days ago, those on the boat got a whale of a show with a very active breaching humpback! The Risso’s dolphins have also made a re-appearance. They are squid eaters so they may be around because there is an abundance of food available off our coast at this time. We even saw a few loggerhead sea turtles recently, which is rare in this area! Loggerheads are found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans as well as the Mediterranean Sea. We don’t see them very often, as many green sea turtles inhabit our local waters and in the San Gabriel River. They have a unique scute pattern on their shell and younger turtles have ridges along their back. Tim Hammond captured some great shots of this turtle!
This week’s blog will be featuring another one of our new whale photo ID interns; Katie! She is currently a junior at the University of Rhode Island, seeking to complete a BS in Marine Biology. In the future, she hopes to work in a research facility working with poisonous and invasive species. She is thrilled to be interning at the Aquarium of the Pacific and partnering with Cascadia Research Collective and Harbor Breeze Cruises. She has already learned so much about data collection and analysis, which is an extremely important part of research. So far, she has seen so many amazing animals.
“My favorite experience was seeing minke, humpback, and a Bryde’s whale while in a pod of an estimated 2000 dolphins. It was only my fourth trip out on the boat and one of the most exciting events to witness. The huge pod of dolphins had driven massive bait balls into an area, creating a feeding frenzy for the whales, birds, and sea lions. I was most excited to see the Bryde’s whale since it is very rare to see one, as there are only supposed to be 12 known whales on our coast. Through this internship, I hope to learn more about research techniques and everything there is to know about our coastal cetaceans.”
We are happy to have Katie on our team and have some of her photos showcased above!
The sun has been shining and more and more blue whales are being seen despite the El Niño season! So, now that the kids are out of school, come out and have an adventure searching for the largest animals on Earth and learning about the animals from our expert Aquarium staff onboard.