Photo and story by www.PhotoByVivian.com
One of the most amazing sites off our shore is seeing Humpback Whales that are migrating from Mexico to coastal California for summer and fall feeding of sardines, anchovies and krill.
The more bait balls (schools of small fish) in our waters the more whales we see. The whales dive underneath the schools of fish and like an explosion they surface with their mouths wide open scooping up as much water and fish as they can. As pictured, Humpbacks have 12 to 36 throat grooves running from their navel to their chin that expand allowing them to bring in large amounts of water into their mouths and sift out the fish through baleen plates. They can hold up to 5,000 gallons of water in their mouth at once. That’s the size of a standard size 7-foot deep swimming pool!
Adult Humpback Whales will eat about 1 ton of food a day. Humpbacks weigh between 30 and 50 tons and can measure up to 52 feet long, the females are a bit larger than the males. They can live 60 to 100+ years. Although making a comeback, Humpback Whales are an endangered species.