Weekly Report ~ August 7, 2023 – August 13, 2023
On the Dana Wharf 8-hour Ultimate Whale Watch, we encountered a Blue Whale with a dive time of 8-11 minutes. This Blue Whale seemed to be lingering on the surface during a series of beaths and would rise arching up, showing the dorsal fin over and over during somewhat lengthy surface intervals before diving to feed on krill. The Blue Whale fluked multiple times and even displayed a double fluke right off our bow coming up about a minute later and fluking a second time.
Not long after we found the Blue Whale, a pair of Fin Whales surfaced, one much larger likely a female seen off California since 2011 and never documented anywhere else about 75 foot long, with second juvenile in the 50-foot range. Both Fin Whales simultaneously made close passes and even swam under the Ocean Adventures. During this encounter lasting several hours we often saw all three whales, one Blue Whale and the 2 Fin Whales on the surface at the same time. At one point, the Blue Whale was off our starboard stern as the 2 Fin Whales surfaced very close along our port side.
It is not surprising we found phalaropes, also called “krill birds” with these whales, especially the Blue Whale which feeds almost exclusively on krill. We were 25 miles out when we found a Nazca Booby bird resting on a boogie board with rocks on it. Likely the owner placed these rocks on their board to prevent it from being taken off the beach and swept out to sea which made it even more stabilized for the Nazca Booby to rest.
Other regular whale watch trips also saw both Blue Whales and Fin Whales usually traveling north at a steady pace. One Fin Whale’s lower white right jaw – a sign of asymmetric coloration – was evident as the Fin Whale would lift its rostrum out of the water as it surfaced.
There were pods of Risso’s, Bottlenose and Common Dolphin including mixed pods of both Risso’s & Bottlenose, Common Dolphin stampedes, plus a Great White Shark and a Sea Turtle were spotted too!