A giant fin whale has endeared itself to whale-watchers off Dana Point in Southern California, after having spent the last three days feeding but also swimming up to vessels and marveling passengers with its size and grace. Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Safari, which provided the top video, is referring to the gregarious cetacean as Farley and on Sunday passengers enjoyed a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to view the gargantuan mammal from eye-level inside underwater viewing pods.
Dana Wharf Whale Watch, which provided the second video, has named the whale Finnegan, who provided passengers with a full-length view as it stretched out alongside the landing’s 95-foot Dana Pride. One crew member can be heard describing the laid-back whale behavior as “Just chillin’.”
Fin whales are the planet’s second-largest whales, behind blue whales. In the northern hemisphere they grow to nearly 80 feet and can weigh up to about 70 tons. Close encounters such as this are uncommon but according to Alisa Schulman-Janiger, a Southern California-based researcher, fins whales have spent lots of time in the region in recent years, and may be growing accustomed to boat traffic.
The whale off Dana Point is estimated to measure between 60 and 70 feet.
Fin whales feed on shrimp-like krill and small fish, and are known to circle schooling fish at high speed, forcing the schools into tight balls. The whales then turn onto their right sides to engulf the fish.
They’re capable of bursts of up to 23 mph.
As viewers can see, however, they’re also capable of lounging around, relaxing, or in this case: just chillin’.
And for those who may be wondering, federal guidelines state that boaters must attempt to stay 100 yards or more from whales. But in cases where the mammals swim up to slow-moving or idling boats, that’s not always possible. Below is a beautiful image of the whale, courtesy of Denielle Conley / Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Safari:
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