The surf’s up in Southern California. This party of surfers had a grand old time there hitting the waves, but didn’t count on a surprise guest to make more waves for them.
Don’t let the thrill of surfing, yachting, parasailing or scuba diving fool you. The ocean doesn’t belong to us.
We exist as part of the natural world, and the natural world has grand ways of reminding us whenever we forget that.
Covering 71% of Earth’s surface, our planet is a blue planet. There’s even an eponymous nature documentary with David Attenborough all about that.
So if you’re out in the big blue and see some of its remarkable residents, don’t be shocked or put off.
This is their home, and you’re just a visitor.
“Don’t be shocked” is pretty easy to follow if we’re talking about typical-sized fishes, crabs and the occasional octopus and sea turtle. They’re all cute and small and harmless.
But there’s no size limit or uniformity in the oceans. This is the home of sharks, whales and everything in a similar size category. Like Master Qui-Gon said, there’s always a bigger fish.
Or mammal. Or cephalopod. You get the picture.
Though despite the vast number of intimidatingly big critters in the sea, none can quite stack up to team Cetaceans. Whales are the undisputed kings and queens of being big.
The Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus), in particular, is the largest animal to have ever lived in Earth’s history. Yes, in Earth’s history. It beats out even prehistoric competitors.
So I’d say take a moment to appreciate how lucky we are to live in the same era as such a majestic, mind-blowingly large and gorgeous animal.
Not all whales are as large as the Blue, but they’re still plenty bigger than most other things in the ocean. For instance, the popular Humpback whale is quite average-sized for whale standards and still tips the scales at 30 tons.
that is the same as flying to the moon and back, and then back to the moon again! 🌙
Photo by @RegiDomingo at our #WeAreAllMammals experience. #GrayWhale #Migration #Ocean #Baja #Magbay #WhaleWatching #Ecotourism #Mexico #NakaweExperiences #Expedition #graywhaleexperience pic.twitter.com/z32mNsthC5
— Nakawe Project (@NakaweProject) October 21, 2020
This one in the video seems to be a Gray whale, Eschrichtius robustus, which you can identify from the characteristically heart-shaped double blowhole and lack of a dorsal fin. That, and Gray Whales are pretty common in Californian waters.
Gray Whales are one of 3 whale species that inhabit the waters of Southern California. The other two being the Fin whale and Blue whale.
Trust me, if this was a Blue Whale, they would have seen it a whole lot sooner.
The Gray Whale is a cool and fascinating whale in many of its own ways too. It’s also known as the California Gray Whale, in case you didn’t know. So this won’t be the first time, or the last time, that one might pop up during a surfing session in these parts.
A fully grown Gray Whale is about 50 feet long (15 meters) from head to tail, and will typically weigh in at 40 tons. This one seems to be a youngster. Even then, it’s already larger than the entire surfing party.
What’s most noteworthy about this encounter is that the whale appears to signal to them first as a heads up, and then seems to intentionally swim around one of the surfers to avoid startling or colliding with anyone.
“Excuse me, guys.”
Captured and uploaded by Payton Landaas, we’re incredibly lucky to have such remarkable footage like this. It’ll come in handy for knowing where Gray Whale populations are, and it’s also a neat display of just how intelligent whales are.
Hopefully, this young Gray Whale will get a chance to grow up to a mighty adult, unbothered and (mostly) unharmed.
Watch the full clip below, and see the exact moment the whale signals to them. If you found this article interesting, or know someone who wants to know what the whale in the clip is, consider giving this article a share!
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