Yesterday afternoon, we had a surprising encounter with a blue whale! Between dive 2 and 3, we sailed around the San Jose Channel and southeast of San Francisco, on the lookout for big animals. We did not find much and were on our way back to the dive site when a juvenile blue whale (around 8-9 meters) was spotted right next to the boat! We stopped the boat about 300 meters away from the animal, and the whale swam right up to the boat, circling the gallant lady for 15 minutes. It passed very close to the bow and the stern, much to the amazement of the guests. I had rarely seen that behavior in whales, and never with blue whales!
We know that blue whales migrate inside the Sea of Cortez; there is actually a mating and birthing area in the national park of Loreto, and the whales travel north or southbound from the Pacific close to the shore. We often see them during their migration, which lasts until the end of May to mid-June. So, it was very curious to see that one blue whale so late in the year! The fact that it is a juvenile may explain the curious behavior, as it is discovering its environment. Any new floating object the size of a boat, like NGL, can arouse curiosity. This whale may have just decided to spend the whole year in the Sea of Cortez; we know that fin, Sei, and Bryde’s whales stay here all year long and find food in abundance, so why not that pretty blue whale?
No matter what, it was an exceptional encounter for our guests in our diving trips. One more on the list of this trip, after the friendly and playful sea lions, the cute hairy Guadalupe fur seals, the cheeky bottlenose dolphins, the numerous turtles, octopuses, nudibranchs, moray eels, and schools of fish that inhabit the reefs, and the splendid bioluminescence during the night dives.Yann