Blue Whale off of the Mendocino Coast

This picture popped up om Lynn Catlett;s great Facebook page, “You know if you’re from Mendocino if……..”

Blue whale washed dead off of the Mendocino Coast

Blue whale washed dead off of the Mendocino Coast

Grey whales and Humpback whales are frequently seen off of the Mendocino Coast as they pass to and from their feeding grounds off of Alaska. But Blue whales? I’ve never seen one.

According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium site:

“Blue whales are the largest animals on Earth. They have astounding body parts—tongues that weigh two tons, a heart as large as a small car and skin-folds that extend from beneath the tips of their lower jaws to their navels. When expanded, these folds increase the interior of a blue whale’s mouth to the size of a train’s box car. Blue whales can grow to 100 feet (30 m) in length and weigh as much as 150 tons—the weight of 30 elephants.

Instead of teeth, blue whales have 300 to 400 fringed baleen plates that hang from their upper jaws and strain their food. Blue whales strain and eat krill, a tiny, shrimplike invertebrate. A whale gulps a mouthful of water and krill, closes its mouth, pushes out the water with its tongue and then swallows its catch of krill.

Blue whales visit Monterey Bay during the summer and fall. They come to eat, gulping tons of shrimplike krill. Finicky eaters, they eat only krill and can travel up to 30 miles a day in search of this prized food. In winter, blue whales return to the warmer waters off Central America to give birth and mate. Since krill is scarce or nonexistent in warm waters, the whales live off reserves of body fat until they can feed again.

Scientists estimate the present population worldwide to be 15,000 whales, with 2,000 of these living in California coastal waters, including Monterey Bay. This is the largest concentration of blue whales in the world. In the summer, whale watchers often see blue whales near the canyon that crosses Monterey Bay.”

So if you want to see one ……. Monterey Bay on your summer hols is the place to go.