Sharing the water with giants

Sharing the water with giants


The blue whale is the largest known animal to have ever existed – up to 110 feet long and weighing nearly 200 metric tons. The whales are drawn to the deep waters off the coast of Southern California in late summer and fall to feed on krill (up to 40 million a day for an adult).

These magnificent, peaceful creatures were hunted nearly to extinction in the 20th century. Though still endangered, their West Coast population (estimated at 2,500) has been gradually recovering – to the delight of whale watchers… and swimmers of the Catalina and Santa Barbara Channels!

Check out this guy kayaking with them off Redondo Beach a few days ago. See, especially, the underwater shots at 1:12 and 2:15.

I’ve never been much of a museum guy – even less so when I was kid. But I fondly remember one particular exhibit at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (a popular field trip destination at my elementary school): the blue whale skeleton! Turns out it’s still there.

For an interesting description of how blue whales fit into the incredibly diverse ecology of the Santa Barbara Channel Islands, see this article. The author refers to the islands as a “Noah’s ark of the sea,” and the “Galapagos of the Northeast Pacific.”

It all could be yours… if you come swim with the SBCSA!

5 Responses to “Sharing the water with giants”

  1. Chicken O'Sea

    2011-10-19T22:05:31+00:00

    As one of the world’s leading Imaginary Wildlife spotters, I can only be in awe of those who not only see the real thing, but can actually prove it by capturing it on film.
    Thank you for posting this!

    Reply
    • Evan

      2011-10-20T17:29:35+00:00

      Frankly I think that guy’s nuts. An animal that big could kill you without even meaning to.

      Reply
  2. Chicken O'Sea

    2011-10-20T20:40:15+00:00

    I assume there are legal limits to how close you can go to these whales. There are in Oz, at least. Their movement must cause a huge swirl. Awesome (I hate this word but it’s applicable).

    Reply
  3. Todd B

    2012-01-15T12:18:54+00:00

    I was lucky enough to swim with a blue whale in the channel between Catalina and San Diego back in 2007. One of the most memorable experiences of my life. Thanks for posting this. It brought back great memories.

    (and your comments about it killing you without even wanting to are not unfounded. The whale’s tail came about five feet away from me. The rush of water that thing generated was unbelievable!)

    Reply

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