COAST CITIES — Grab your binoculars. Blue whales, the largest mammal, can be spotted swimming and feeding off the coast of California from mid-June through October. With increasing populations, and the presence of their food in local waters, the blue whale has become a recent regular local visitor in the summer, just offshore. At more than 100 feet in length, this leviathan is fascinating to observe in the wild. Adventurers can also expect to see fin and Minke whales.According to Capt. Frank Ursitti with H&M Landing, “Many Southern Californians are familiar with the migration of the Pacific gray whale. This species has the longest migration of any animal on Earth and we are fortunate here in Southern California to be able to observe both south- and north-bound migrations. This occurs just offshore between the months of December through April. What few know about, and are fortunate to witness, is the presence of blue whales off our coast in summer months.”
“We are currently in a cooler water cycle. As a result of deep-water upwellings, these cooler water temperatures are nutrient-rich and set the stage for massive plankton blooms, which in turn provide ideal conditions for krill to flourish in the region. Every year the krill congregate in different places, following the cool waters and these massive blooms,” Ursitti said.
Blue whales thrive on krill—an example of one of the largest animals on our planet surviving by consuming one of the smallest. An adult blue whale can eat up to 40 million krill in a day.There are only a few places on the planet where one can observe this behemoth, and San Diego is currently one of the premier destinations.
Whale-watching tours can be booked at Helgren’s Sportfishing, 315 Harbor Drive South in Oceanside and H&M Landing, in San Diego.