LONG BEACH, Calif. – This is the time of year when Blue whales are spotted off the coast of California.
Roselyn Ruiz went on her first whale watching expedition in July. The Aquarium of the Pacific and Harbor Breeze Cruises are starting their whale watch season trips. Ruiz didn’t quite know what to expect.
“Mostly when I was younger we would go on boat trips with my family in Mexico, but other than that like that’s pretty much it,” said Ruiz.
Blue whales are the largest animals to ever have lived on Earth. There are an estimated 2,000 Blue whales in the waters off California. The species is currently listed as endangered.
Extreme hunting more than 100 years ago by whalers looking for whale oil nearly led the animals to extinction. They started receiving some protections in the 1960s, but recovery has been a struggle.
Blue whales have few predators. Sometimes sharks and killer whales attack Blue whales, however many are hurt or even die because of ship strikes.
Blue whales dive for long periods of time, then come up to breathe; so whale watching takes patience.
“It’s been really nice, really fun waiting for the whale, but it’s been really cool,” said Ruiz.
Blue whales are currently migrating south down to Mexico and Costa Rica. Some are looking for love. The pregnant ones want to give birth in warmer waters.
Blue whales can weigh up to 200 tons and its heart is the size of a small car. Yet you can usually only see a small part on the water’s surface.