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Massive and Massing!

Blue whales gather off the California coast

They’re the largest animals ever to have lived on Planet Earth. And right now these leviathans are frolicking off the coast of California, from Santa Barbara down to San Diego.

Less is known about the lives of blue whales than most other kinds of whales and dolphins, but they usually congregate off the coast of Monterey in summer, where they feast on tiny krill – shrimp-like creatures that crowd the waters at this time of year. They’ve come further south this year because the coastal Pacific waters there are a little cooler than usual.

Blue whales grow to 90 feet in length and weigh more than 100 tons. On one recent day, one of the whale-watching tourist companies around Santa Barbara said they’d had 21 blue whale sightings on one day. Another had seen nine blue whales, six humpbacks, 50 Risso’s dolphins and 100 common dolphins.

Overall, approximately 2,000 blue whales are believed to be out and about off the California coast during summer and early fall each year.