On Monday, August 22, boaters near Dana Point, California were in for the surprise of a lifetime when they spotted at least three blue whales in the water. The whales were racing each other past the boats, and Capt. Dave’s Dana Point Dolphin & Whale Watching caught a fascinating video of the playful whales.
Capt. Dave’s YouTube video speculated that the group was two males competing for the female’s attention. At one point, they were clocked going about 15 knots, equivalent to 17 mph. Laura Lopez of Dana Wharf Whale Watch also captured photos of the whales. Lopez reported that they saw four blue whales, while Capt. Dave’s only reported three. Either way, it must have been a magical sight.
Lopez reported on Facebook that the whale watchers saw the blue whales staying close together, almost “side by side, rolling displaying ventral pleats, pectoral fins and flukes (tails), simultaneous high chin slaps while racing across the water at high speeds. Other times,” she wrote, “they seemed to be following in a line up all bursting the water’s surface together.”
“Despite the Blue Whales’ enormous size,” Lopez continued, “scientists have trouble locating and studying the Blue Whale in the vastness of the ocean, leaving many questions about mating and courtship behaviors. Mating and birthing take place during the winter, though Blue Whales do not appear to have a set breeding ground.” Lopez concluded the Dana Wharf Whale Watch post by claiming that the sight was “one for the record books!”
Whale Watchers Witness Amazing Spectacle; Plus, All About Blue Whales
Blue whales are rarely seen out of deep waters so it’s an extraordinary sight when they do show up. These whale watchers got a special treat from these whales, but why are they so elusive? If they’re so hard to study, what do we know about them?
Well, we know they’re the biggest animal in the world, and they can weigh up to 200 tons, according to the World Wildlife Fund. They are a species of baleen whale, which means they use a filter system in their mouths to eat. They open their mouths underwater to take in water, then push it back out, and the baleen filters the krill and plankton from the water. A blue whale’s stomach can hold up to one ton of krill at a time, but it can consume up to 16 tons daily, according to National Geographic.
Blue whales grow upwards of 100 feet long, and along with being the biggest animal, they’re also one of the loudest in the world as well. WWF reports that a blue whale’s call can reach 188 decibels. For comparison, a jet engine comes in at about 140 decibels.
Currently, blue whales are endangered, with about 10,000 to 25,000 individuals left in the world. Although their populations are considered to be increasing, it will take a long time before their numbers even come close to what they were in 1926, for example. Then, there were upwards of 140,000 blue whales in the world. Unfortunately, ship strikes, netting entanglement, and hunting took a lot of the whales out.