Meanwhile, however, boaters are enjoying an unusually strong influx of minke whales, which are the smallest baleen whales in the northern hemisphere.
There are few complaints. Minke whales, although they measure only to about 30 feet, are still whales, and some have been incredibly boat friendly (see accompanying image).
Dana Wharf Whale Watching reported 16 minke whale sightings last week, and three more on Monday. Typically, minke whales are seen only sporadically.
Capt. Corey Hall said the smaller whales are attracted by a high volume of anchovies, which are feeding on an abundance of krill, which hopefully will lure in blue whales, which last year began to arrive off Orange County in mid-May.
"There are a ton of 2- to 4-inch anchovies, which I think is due to the volume of krill," Hall said. "The anchovies have also attracted lots of common dolphins."
Blue whales, which can measure 100 feet and weigh 150 tons, feed almost exclusively on krill. About 2,000 blue whales utilize West Coast feeding grounds each spring and summer.
The last two whale-watching seasons off Orange and Los Angeles counties, for blue whales, were the best ever.
-- Image of minke whale is courtesy of Dana Wharf Whale Watching