If you’re familiar with whale watching in Southern California you know that Blue Whales show up in the summertime. In fact, in my entire career as a professional whale photographer I have only recorded a combined 8 days with at least one Blue Whale sighting prior to May 1st.
While the log I keep comprises only my personal trips on the days that I work, I feel it is strongly reflective of the seasons our animals are typically sighted in. I also record if that species was seen on that day and do not attempt to estimate the number of individuals which I feel opens the door to inaccuracies. All I am attempting to document is what I have seen. I
Imagine my surprise a couple of weeks ago when we saw a Blue Whale feeding near my current home and workplace of Newport Beach! Imagine my further surprise when that animal showed up again! Now realize that this pattern has repeated itself almost every day since April 20th! While most of the sightings we have recorded can be attributed to one very prevalent individual there have been at least two or three other individuals this season. (Two confirmed, unable to tell if the third was one of those two or a separate individual.)
At the end of the day on April 30th , 2019 I had documented at least one Blue Whale ELEVEN DIFFERENT DAYS. Three more than the combined total seen prior to May 1st from 2013-2018 combined! I’m not sure what this means yet for the rest of the year. Are the Blue Whales responding to our warming water temperatures locally by feeding here earlier in the year? Is this an aberration? Are we on the cusp on an incredible season? I look forward to sharing more in the days to come.
Along with a Minke Whale and a smattering of remaining Gray Whales there has been a nice influx of Fin Whales, our first "Finvasion" of 2019 as I like to call them. Expect more updates featuring the immense size and incredible elegance of the Fin Whale as May progresses!