Monday, March 24, 2008

Cetaceans among us

I had a chance to take my family on a three hour whale watch chartered out of Half Moon Bay on Sunday. After about an hour we wound up spotting several gray whales; baleen whales that I am told can grow to as large as 14 feet. For the most part, we were seeing the smoke-like "poof" of the whale expelling through its blow hole. My daughter was able to spot the fluke at one point. Then, suddenly, the larger gray jumped out of the water, exposing the majority of the whale's body to view. Amazing.

We did not get a picture of the whale, as each spotting was quite sudden. However, the overall effect was considerably more dramatic than the spotting photo I have linked to from Wikipedia.

On a slightly related topic, the migration of the blow hole to its present position on the whale's head is one of the more interesting parts of aquatic evolution.

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