May 21, 2007

Bon Voyage!

Posted by: Karyn Gregory

Just a bit south of here, two humpback whales – a mother and calf – have finally started home after swimming 90 miles through the San Francisco Bay and ending up in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. They were spotted heading for the Sacramento harbor on May 13, arrived on the 15, and have been attracting massive crowds of whale watchers to the area. Ever since then scientists have attempted to lure them out before the whales hurt themselves. Biologists are concerned because "...they are at the end of their hibernation season, [therefore] they have less blubber to rely on for fuel than they would later in the summer or fall."

First, the scientists tried playing whale songs and when that didn’t work, they planned on scaring them with loud underwater noises. Fortunately, it looks like the whales came up with their own idea and began following two tugs out of the Port of Sacramento towards the Pacific Ocean. They still have a long way to go, but it looks like they’re on the right track. Keep it up you guys!

You can see video of the whales on KIRO TV here.


Top left: Humpback mother and calf, courtesy of OAR/National Undersea Research Program (NURP)
Bottom right: Humpback tail flap, courtesy of OAR/National Undersea Research Program (NURP)