Several blue whale sighting were made off Orange and Los Angeles counties on Wednesday, but whether the majestic leviathans will stick around or more will arrive in the coming days or weeks remains to be seen.
Passengers aboard a Capt. Dave's Dolphin and Whale Safari vessel late Wednesday morning saw three blue whales and six minke whales. Davey's Locker in Newport Beach logged nine blue whale sightings throughout the day, while Harbor Breeze Cruises in Long Beach logged one sighting during its afternoon excursion.
There's a stark contrast in size between blues and minkes. Blue whales are the planet's largest creatures, measuring to about 100 feet, and minke whales are North America's smallest baleen whales, spanning to about 30 feet.
"We are very thankful that they have finally arrived," Dave Anderson stated, in reference to the blue whales. "They are a little later than they have usually been. Hopefully, this is the beginning of another great season."
A crew from Dana Wharf Whale Watching attempted to find the blue whales Wednesday afternoon, but was unsuccessful, so the blue whales apparently did not settle in to feed.
Passengers aboard the vessel did see a fin whale, which is the planet's second-largest whale species. Also, those on the 5 p.m. voyage saw a leatherback turtle, which is a very unusual sighting.
The past two seasons were incredible for Southern California whale watchers, with daily blue whale sightings throughout much of the summer off Orange and Los Angeles counties.
Last year the first sighting of blue whales off Orange County was in mid-May.
-- Image and video are courtesy of Capt. Dave's Dolphin Safari