The Whales are currently migrating off the Mendocino Coast. Recently a female Blue Whale that washed ashore south of the Mendocino Botanical Gardens appears to have died after it collided with a research vessel several miles off the Mendocino Coast.
According to Joe Cordaro and Jim Milbury at the Long Beach National Marine Fisheries Service office. The service got a call from the research vessel Pacific Star, saying they had struck a whale. It was estimated that the Blue Whale swam under the research vessel and hit its propeller, not the boat’s hull. They said at the time they only felt a shudder.
From the cliffs you could see a gash located in the whale’s midsection was between 8 to 10 feet long. It was deep, exposing the whale’s blubber layer. This is the second blue whale reported to have been killed by a ship’s propeller along the California coast this year, Cordaro said. The other blue whale was found along the Big Sur coastline last week, he said.
The Blue Whale was a female that is about 72 feet long and weighs more than 50 tons. The whale carcass is in an inlet adjacent to private property, part of a gated community south of the Fort Bragg Botanical Gardens. The whale will be left where it is. If it becomes a nuisance, the people who own the property adjacent to the ocean will be responsible for dealing with it, Cordaro said
BLUE WHALE FACTS:
Blue whales are the largest animals ever known to have lived on Earth. They can grow up to 100 feet long and weigh in at 200 tons. Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant. Their hearts, as much as an automobile. Blue whales are baleen whales, which means they have fringed plates of fingernail-like material, called baleen, attached to their upper jaws. The giant animals feed by first gulping an enormous mouthful of water, expanding the pleated skin on their throat and belly to take it in. Then the whale’s massive tongue forces the water out through the thin overlapping baleen plates. Blues whales reach these mind-boggling dimensions on a diet composed nearly exclusively of tiny shrimp like animals called krill. During certain times of the year a single adult blue whale consumes about 4 tons of krill a day.
Blues whales look true blue underwater, but on the surface their coloring is more a mottled blue-gray. Their underbellies take on a yellowish hue from the millions of microorganisms that take up residence in their skin. The blue whale has a broad, flat head and a long, tapered body that ends in wide, triangular flukes.