Whale watching photos taken near Santa Barbara part 1

Blue whale with darker patterns on back

Thanks to the hacking incident I’m very behind on posting my latest whale watching photos, but oh well, such is life. On August 13th, I was lucky enough to go on the ACS Whale Watching trip on the Condor Express off Santa Barbara and it was an amazing day. Because it was such a great trip, I took a ton of photos. I won’t post all of them of course, but I am going to do a few posts showing some of the highlights.

To start, this post features a really unique blue whale that we came across. Instead of being the standard light blotchy gray, this whale had large swatches of yellow-brown in various patterns across it’s back. According to the expert naturalist onboard, this is caused by diatoms, which is a type of single-celled algae. I emailed a diatom expert to find out more, but in the meantime you’ll just have to check out the photo. It’s definitely a good way for a blue whale to stand apart from the rest.

Blue whale splash before the deep dive

Also, there was a blue whale that had this signature way of diving. Right before heading for the deep, he (or she) would smack his (or her) head on the surface, which always created a big splash. This was very consistent and every time we saw the splash we knew it would be a longer dive and we’d have to wait awhile for the whale to surface again.

And the last two photos are just for fun! A blue whale fluke shot and an extreme close-up of the head.

Blue whale flukes

Extreme close-up of a blue whale


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