These days we are always looking for the next big thing. This summer, hop on a boat and head out onto Southern California’s coastal waters where the largest animal on the planet is sure to blow you away.
Everything about blue whales is impressive. Were you impressed by Joey Chestnut eating 69 hot dogs at this year’s Nathan’s hot dog eating competition? Then you will be blown away by the blue whale’s consumption of four tons of krill — per day! Do you like the dancing fountains at The Grove? Then you will love the spray from a blue whale’s blow hole as it shoots three stories into the air. Do you marvel at the communicative wonder that is the cell phone? Then prepare to be mystified by the sounds blue whales create to communicate with other whales 1,000 miles away.
Blue whale watching is a relatively new phenomenon in Southern California. Ten years ago, spotting one of these massive creatures in our coastal waters was extremely rare but last summer, more than 900 whales were seen by thousands of whale watchers.
Scientists believe the 2004 Indonesia earthquake and resulting tsunami altered ocean currents, resulting in a surge of krill off the coast of California. Blue whales happen to be huge fans of krill, consuming a half million calories worth of the little critters in a single mouthful. So where the krill goes, they go.
The blue whales might be the most massive animal on the planet but this enormous creature is rarely seen in the world’s waters. Just 12,000 blue whales remain today, significantly less than the 200,000 that roamed the seas before the whaling of the 1800s, and only 1 percent of the population will ever see one. So how does one catch a glimpse of the ultimate gentle giant of the sea and become part of the one percent? Hop onboard one of these whale watching outfitters’ boats between now and the end of September and keep your eyes on the water.
Sharlene Earnshaw is the editor for Trekaroo, a website dedicated to helping families travel better.