Ventura Breeze article

First sighting of the Blue Whale!


The magnificent Blue Whales have returned to the waters within the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. On Sunday April 23, Island Packers vessel sighted the first blue whale of the year at Anacapa Island.

One of the most amazing natural wonders just off the California coast, the giant 90' Blue Whales are being sighted within and near Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands.

 Late spring thru September, hundreds of Blue and Humpback Whales congregate in and around the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary to feed. Ocean currents and underwater features create nutrient up Blue Whaledwelling, which is the first link in a very productive food chain. During the spring and summer “blooms” of plankton attract birds, fish and mammals to the waters surrounding the Channel Islands. The area has become a destination for researchers and whale watchers from around the globe to come and experience one of the world’s largest concentrations of Blue Whales. Intensely hunted in the past, the Blue’s population is estimated at only 5,000 to 12,000 world wide; 2,000 of those in the Eastern Pacific. Each year, approximately 200 of these leviathans come to the local waters to feed. The Blues are the largest of the whales, at 33 meters (110ft) and close to 200 tons; they can be bigger than the largest dinosaurs.

Island Packers provides cruises to visit these great creatures in the waters near the offshore islands that make up the Channel Islands National Park. The trip is an all day event, therefore it is recommended for individuals who enjoy being on boats. Naturalist and Researchers from the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary may be onboard as well as a trained crew naturalist.

For a grand finale, the cruise includes a visit into the Painted Cave on Santa Cruz, one of the largest sea caves on any island in the world. Other marine life that might be encountered include: pelagic birds; sharks; ocean sunfish; Seals and Sealions; Humpback, Fin, and Minke Whales; Common, Risso and Bottlenose Dolphin; and much more.

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