“It was bigger than this ship,” yelled five-year-old Nicholas Carrozza. “It was bigger than this ship! Oh my God!”

 

 

Nicholas was a fellow passenger on the “Voyager” on Saturday morning, September 10, 20111, and we had just been surprised by a blue whale that surfaced from a feeding dive not more than a boat length on our starboard side.  We could hear the explosive exhalation that sent a plume of water mist into the air high above our heads and we could see the giant animal’s impressive rostrum, mottled gray blue skin and tiny dorsal fin right next to us. At 75 to 80 feet in length, the whale was indeed longer than our 65-foot boat. The whale surfaced several times right there next to us and then showed its mighty flukes as it glided into the depths of the Redondo Canyon to resume feeding on krill. Feeding on dense swarms of the tiny shrimp-like animals is what blue whales during the summer and fall and that is what brings them to the waters off California.

 

 

It can take a while to find the first whale on any given trip, but on Saturday we spotted out first blue while the “Voyager” was still tied to the dock in the Redondo Beach Marina. We could clearly see one animal’s 30-foot tall blow and then its giant flukes through binoculars, just over a half mile from shore. So there wasn’t much guessing as we made our way past the pelicans, gulls and cormorants on the jetty and the California sea lions on the harbor entrance buoy and headed straight to where the first whale was. It sounded just as we got there and Captain Brad decided to leave this animal to the many kayakers and paddleboarders in the area and we continued further offshore.

 

 

 

We were soon surrounded by a pod of approximately 600 long-beaked common dolphins who were feeding on bait fish just below the surface. We could see them zipping around and even swimming belly up as they caught their meal. And then we reached an area full of blue whales. They were spread out in ones and twos and were staying down relatively long which can make it challenging to hook up with them. But Captain Brad knows his whales and he is a patient man, so he positioned the “Voyager” where the whales were likely to surface and it sure paid off.

 

 

Right after we had the close encounter that prompted Nicholas’ outburst, another blue whale surfaced about 100 yards away and then turned towards us. It kept coming closer and closer until it dove just off our port bow and then surfaced right on the other side of the “Voyager.” It was clearly having fun with us.

 

 

Blue whales don’t always show their flukes when they dive but today we had two or three animals that did, including one large female that threw her tail high in the air as if to wave goodbye to us just as it was time to return to port. In all we saw between eight and 12 different blue whales; it is hard to keep track when there are animals all around. We had several more pods of common dolphins come through the area, and we also saw a few ocean sunfish or mola mola, one of which jumped out of the water right next to a surfacing blue whale.

 

We are extremely lucky to have such easy access to largest animal ever to live on this planet, but there is no telling how long the show will last and the whales move on following their prey. In 2010 it lasted pretty much exactly through the month of September. The “Voyager” will continue running daily trips out of the Redondo Beach Marina as long as the blue whales are around; on the day after Christmas they will begin running gray whale trips and the rest of the time they offer nature cruises. Trips leave at noon on weekdays and 9 a.m. on weekends, call (310) 944-1219 for reservations.

Views: 434

Comment

You need to be a member of San Pedro News Pilot to add comments!

Join San Pedro News Pilot

Comment by Bernardo Alps on September 15, 2011 at 10:28am
Thank you, Kathy. These animals are magnificent and we are lucky to have them so close.
Comment by Kathy Michaelis on September 14, 2011 at 8:39pm
what beautiful animals!! *& great photos, thank you!!
Comment by Bernardo Alps on September 14, 2011 at 3:27pm
Thanks, Branimir.
Comment by Branimir Kvartuc on September 14, 2011 at 1:39pm
this was a great read Bernardo!

Call (323) 200-9052 to learn more or click here to send an email.

San Pedro Weather

San Pedro News Pilot by email - sign up!

Delivered by FeedBurner

What is the SanPedroNewsPilot.com?

The SanPedroNewsPilot.com is the social network and information outlet for San Pedro.

Want to keep up with the news in San Pedro, become a member.


 

Membership has its privileges!

• Got news you think everyone should know? Blog it.
• Have a show or attending a benefit? Put it on the calendar.
• Got video of the big game? Embed it.
• Photos of the new storefront or the school play? Upload them.

Latest Activity

Larry Momo aka Thomas W Irons posted a blog post

Curmudgeon Corner - Standing for the Right Thing

For December 21, 2014When I was young and foolish many, many years ago I got a hand full of Cuban cigars.  Those of you familiar with Cuban cigars, therefore know, I got a hold of one of those big babies.  Yep, thought I was hot stuff.  Pulled out a blow torch and lit the darn thing. Showed everyone what it was to be a man. Fifteen minutes later, I was totally sick to my stomach, puking whatever it was I ate for dinner. So, you see, if I don’t seem excited about the President establishing…See More
20 hours ago
Profile IconSan Pedro News Pilot via Facebook
Thumbnail

First Sunday Speaker Seris

sanpedronewspilot.com

The San Pedro Bay Historical Society presents Judson Grenier from CSUDH, as part of their First Sunday Speaker Series. The topic of the talk is titled: “George…

Facebook21 hours ago · Reply
San Pedro Bay Historical Society posted an event

First Sunday Speaker Seris at San Pedro Library

January 4, 2015 from 1:30pm to 2:30pm
The San Pedro Bay Historical Society presents Judson Grenier from CSUDH, as part of their First Sunday Speaker Series. The topic of the talk is titled: “George Carson, Los Angeles Pioneer”. The event will be held on Sunday, January 4, in the Community Room of the San Pedro Library at 931 Gaffey Street from 1:30 – 2:30 pm. Admission is free. Seating is limited. For more info go to sanpedrobayhistoricalsociety.org or email sanpedrohistory@gmail.com.See More
23 hours ago

Sports Editor
Jamaal Kellen Street's 2 blog posts were featured
yesterday
Marlene Bauman's event was featured
Thumbnail

Markus Carlton, Guitarist at The Whale and Ale at The Whale and Ale

December 20, 2014 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
"Be of Good Cheer, Come Have a Beer" - Live music, great food and drink at San Pedro's pretties restaurant.See More
Friday
Joleen D'Rage's event was featured
Thumbnail

Tall Ship Adventure Sails at Downtown Harbor Cut

December 20, 2014 from 2pm to 5pm
Join Los Angeles Maritime Institute (LAMI) for an unforgettable Family Adventure as we join the Port of Los Angeles in celebrating Holidays by the Sea at the new Downtown Public Square at Harbor Blvd. and Sixth Street. Enjoy an afternoon sail and then return to the Downtown Square for a spectacular light show and a classic film projected on our ship's sails. (Visit www.LAWaterfront.org for movie times.)  Tickets available on our…See More
Friday

Sports Editor
Jamaal Kellen Street's 2 blog posts were featured
Friday
Joleen D'Rage posted an event
Thumbnail

Tall Ship Adventure Sails at Downtown Harbor Cut

December 20, 2014 from 2pm to 5pm
Join Los Angeles Maritime Institute (LAMI) for an unforgettable Family Adventure as we join the Port of Los Angeles in celebrating Holidays by the Sea at the new Downtown Public Square at Harbor Blvd. and Sixth Street. Enjoy an afternoon sail and then return to the Downtown Square for a spectacular light show and a classic film projected on our ship's sails. (Visit www.LAWaterfront.org for movie times.)  Tickets available on our…See More
Friday

© 2014   Created by San Pedro News Pilot.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service