The Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is the largest living animal on the planet at eighty feet long and can weigh over 100 tons with a blow twenty feet tall. It is truly thrilling to have this huge animal surface near the boat. On a good day we can see through the water and the light bluish-gray body appears as a turquoise hue. It is magical. Blue Whales come into Monterey Bay to feed on the abundant seasonal krill blooms.
A blue whale can consume several tons of krill each day.
|Listen to Dorris describing a Blue Whale encounter on NPR's All Things Considered 7/6/12:|
In 2010 a dead pregnant blue whale beached along the San Mateo County coast north of Monterey Bay. It was determined to have died from a collision with a tanker ship. These collisions are becoming more common along the California coast as both our whale populations and tanker traffic increases. Shipping lanes cross whale migration corridors and feeding grounds. Current research is striving to document whale behavior around large ships in order to inform shipping lane regulations along our coast.