Weekly Whale Watching Report ~ June 5, 2023 – June 11, 2023
A Rare Sperm Whale Spotted by Captain Steve at Dana Wharf!
Sperm whales are some of the biggest toothed whales in the ocean, with males weighing up to 50 tons or more than 700 people, according to the National Wildlife Federation. They can be very elusive with hour-long dives and usually travel in deeper waters further offshore and have not been seen at Dana Wharf Whale Watch since 2014. In recent days, there had been other Sperm whale sightings off the southern California coast, and this sighting was a once-in-a-lifetime encounter for many, including Captain Steve! Sperm whales have a single blowhole located left of center and 45-degree-angled spouts, plus an extremely large head with a wrinkled body. Looking for blue whales 10 miles out, he saw this angled blow and the wrinkled body and realized this was a sperm whale. After watching an entire breathing cycle lasting over 6 minutes, the largest of the toothed whale’s dove, sending its flukes high up in the air. One of the deepest divers known, sperm whales, can hold their breath for up to two hours and descend to 3,000 meters, so we knew our encounter had ended!
So many other “rare” and interesting behaviors have been seen this week, including a spy-hopping blue whale, a breaching Minke whale, and we were mugged by a humpback whale cow/calf pair in addition to multiple Fin whales! Recently, blue whales were seen 9 out of 10 days in a row, with many being very curious about our vessels making very close passes and even swimming under our boats. It is quite impressive seeing the glow of the head of a blue whale on one side of us and the tail on the other, as these animals can be 85-90 feet in our area! Early in the week, after a Fin whale swam around our boat twice, a Minke whale breached three times alongside the Ocean Adventure! About 12 miles offshore, we had a curious humpback mom and baby swim alongside, then turn to head right at us off our stern, and they mugged our boat. This proud mama seemed to be showing off her calf!
There have been sightings of Risso’s, bottlenose, and common dolphins, sometimes traveling, feeding, and even stampeding! Often “schools” of Mola molas still feed on the Velella Velella or By-the-Wind-Sailors! These organisms can reproduce in just three weeks. We continue to see tiny Velellas; each is a floating colony of many organisms.