Our week two guests hailed from California and Florida. We finally spotted our first blue whale of the season, with Delphi doing the fieldwork of documenting it. This was the one and only “Hook” a male first identified in 1983 as an adult. So this is an older whale which we now have on record for more than 40 years! This is also the first time we even resighted the same individual blue whale 6 years in a row! So Hook is now a record breaker.
The most remarkable thing about this whale is his preference for this area. The Northeast Pacific is a vast place and there are clearly many areas blue whales frequent in wintertime to feed. But Hook seems to forego them all and comes time and time again right to our working area. Even with last year being a down year here for blue whales, and this year so far the same, Hook has shown up both of these years. I will say he did not seem relaxed, diving for 20 minutes at a time, and finally moving swiftly to the south. Also, he has not been seen since.
Below is a chart I just made to illustrate Hook’s arrival here these past 6 years.
2014- our 6th blue whale of the season – first seen Feb. 13
2015- our 1st blue whale of the season – first seen Feb. 8
2016- our 3rd blue whale of the season – first seen Feb. 10
2017- our 5th blue whale of the season – first seen Feb. 6
2018- our 5th blue whale of the season – first seen Feb. 9
2019- our first blue whale of the season – first seen Feb. 13
All I can say is “remarkable”! A spectacular example of habitat use and specifically timed arrivals by a mature blue whale. We can only wonder where this whale goes each spring, summer and fall? Week 2 also had a number of humpbacks, throngs of dolphins, another young grey whale, and if everyone will indulge me below briefly, some spectacular hummingbirds.
More coming next week as our search goes on for a Hook re-sighting, and more blue whales hopefully to come.