08/13/2019: "Blue Whales Off Washington Coast"
(Mike Johnson photo)
Cascadia Researchhas reported that on July 24, Cascadia members Kiirsten Flynn and John Calambokidis sighted two blue whales feeding 17 nautical miles NW of Grays Harbor.
Blue whales are considered the largest animals that ever lived and are commonly seen off California, but sightings off Washington are rare, with a few seen in the last five decades.
The most recent documented sightings were both in 2011 including on 8 December 2011 when six blue whales were sighted feeding off the Washington coast. The surveys are part of a research effort conducted by Cascadia Research in collaboration with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and supported by NOAA to learn more about the occurrence of endangered whales off Washington.
The two whales seen on 24 July 2019 were both identified by their natural markings as known whales in Cascadia’s catalog that tracks a majority of the estimated 2,000 blue whales in this population.