Two veteran whale watchers were 12 miles off of San Diego when a feeding blue whale rose out of the water, mouth open to gather krill, and slammed into the inflatable boat. The boat flipped over and the captain and a photographer were thrown into the water. They were rescued by another boat. Photographer Dale Frink saved his camera and got a shot of the whale's mouth. The report is from KFMB in San Diego. Via Pete Thomas at Grind TV, who note this is the start of the blue whale season off the Southern California coast.
Also from Thomas: There are five whales and dolphins that have such distinctive markings they are able to be spotted off our coast. Excerpt:
Hook (blue whale, pictured above)
The peculiar shape of this mammal’s tail fluke, most likely the result of a birth defect or an orca bite early in life, has inspired many nicknames. But “Hook” is the name that stuck, and when Hook is sighted news spreads rapidly via social media. Last summer, when Hook remained off the Los Angeles area for several days, one whale-watching business was ferrying media out for a look. Hook loves to raise its tail fluke high into the air before deep-water dives, and that could be because the mammal needs the extra body push downward to make up for the lack of power in its fluke. Spotted from San Diego to Monterey...
Chopfin (killer whale)
Easy to discern because of its square and tattered dorsal fin, which was damaged several years ago, most likely, as a result of a net entanglement, and later shredded, most likely, by a boat propeller. Researcher Alisa Schulman-Janiger calls him the poster boy for human interaction involving fishing gear and boat propellers. “But it doesn’t handicap him,” the researcher said. Spotted as far north as Washington and as far south as Southern California, but is usually seen off Monterey.