This year residents of Los Angeles, as well as those lucky enough to visit are being blessed with something that has never before been seen in this area.
The endangered Blue Whales, the largest animal on earth, have recently been spotted in record numbers off the coast in the Santa Monica Bay.
Estimates of 25 to 30 whales have been in the area for weeks, and this has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many. It’s estimated that 2000 Blue Whales, out of a total world population of 10,000, feed off of the California coast. But never before have this many been seen in the area at the same time.
Blue Whales can grow up to 108 feet in length (33 meters) and weigh 180 metric tons or more. Their diet consists mainly of Krill (tiny, shrimp-like crustaceans), and experts believe the Blue Whales are in the area because of an unusually large amount of Krill here this year.
The whales blow (the large spray that can be seen when the whales rise to the ocean’s surface for air) can reach around 30 feet high or more (over 10 meters), and many whales blow can be seen from the shore around the Redondo Beach, California area.
If you’re lucky, you can see the whales fluking (like in the video above). Fluking is when the whale begins to dive deep, and its massive tail comes completely out of the water…quite a display!
After seeing so many whales from shore, we wanted to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and see them close up. We booked a trip with Voyager Excursions, which operates their 65 foot double decker boat, Voyager, from the International Boardwalk at Redondo Beach Marina in Redondo Beach, California.
The tour is $25.00 for adults, and $15.00 for children under 12. These appear to be higher prices than they normally charge for whale tours, but also seems like the tours are longer than normal. Either way, at $25.00 it’s still a deal to be able to experience the Blue Whales up close.
The tour was from 12pm – 3pm, with a small group of very friendly people (most of them seemed to be from the local area) and an excellent crew. Due to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which was enacted to protect endangered animals, the boat would stop the engines at a safe distance from the whales and we’d observe them from a short distance. Occasionally the whales would swim very close to the boat, allowing an amazing view and putting into perspective just how massive these beautiful creatures are.
As we floated on the water, Blue Whales were seen in every direction, and countless blow seen not too far. The whales usually traveled in pairs, but there were many pairs in the area, we estimated we saw 15 to 20 whales close by.
Along with the Magnificent Blue Whales, we saw the local dolphin population, some California Sea Lions hanging around the boat, and a few of the unusual Sunfish, or Mola Mola swimming within feet of the boat.
Simply put, anyone that loves nature, or just wants to be inspired must take this tour!
If you’ve had a chance to see the whales, or have any questions, please leave your comment below.
Contact Info for Voyager Excursions and more helpful links: