Saturday, September 10, 2011

Whale Watching

To begin my adventures in San Diego, I went out with the San Diego Natural History Museum on a 110-ft. whale watching boat. There were three Naturalists and one Scientist from the museum on board. There were only 18 of us Paid Customers so we had plenty of opportunity to ask questions about what we saw along the way.

We traveled out to sea some 16 miles to edge of the California Shelf where the Blue Whales were feeding. They were not hard to find, because when the whales surface while feeding they bring to the surface a lot of what the Sea Gulls and pelicans love to eat. So there are a swarm of birds over the area of the whales. The Blue Whale is the largest known animal on this planet weighing up to 170 tons and they get up to 150 feet long. The ones that we saw were only in the range of 100 to 120 feet long. They do not come out of the water like the Hump Back Whales but just sort of porous along.

One time the whale rolled onto its side so we were able to see both the dorsal fin and half of the fluke. The next picture is the 12-ft long jaw (under water) and the dorsal fin.

Next is the rest of the whale. We were about 500 feet or so from the whale.

After observing the whale for an hour or so, we traveled into Mexican waters and investigated the Coronado Islands. These were where pirates hid out in the 1850s. We heard many pirate stories along with the saga of the Coronado Yacht Club back in Prohibition days.

We only had time to check out two of the smaller islands. The Coronado del Norte island is were we saw hundreds of Sea Lions, Cormorants and Pelicans.

All lined up ready for inspection as we passed.

Our Captain held the bow of the boat just a few feet off the second island so we could get a close look at the Brown Boobys that are found only on that island.

An adult Brown Booby is about 1.5 times the size of an adult Sea Gull.

A young Brown Booby with baby feathers

They let Captain Bob take the boat back into San Diego Bay.

One the way in, we spotted another Blue Whale.

An End to a fantastic adventure!