I saw my first humpback whale on the morning of January 19, 2013 while aboard a Voyager Excursions whale watching trip out of King Harbor in Redondo Beach, California (see the collage of photos I took of the humpback whale). The whale, identified by a naturalist on board as a juvenile, was hanging out not very far outside the harbor and was attracting quite a bit of attention. I myself am still trying to get a handle of identifying whales which is not so easy since typically I can only get small glimpses of their bodies. However, the humpback is much smaller than the other whales I’ve seen a lot more such as blue whale or fin whale. In fact as we were leaving the humpback the captain said that although this one was cute he wanted to take us to see the “real” whales, the ones that were twice the size of the boat.
I, as well as most of the people on the boat and especially the captain, found it disturbing that people either in boats or on paddleboards were approaching the whale so closely. According to federal law it is illegal to approach a whale closer than 300 feet (91 meters) unless of course the whale approaches you on its own. I have never been on a paddleboard, but I can’t imagine that I would feel very safe getting so close to such a huge and unpredictable wild animal. Anyway, as we were returning to the harbor after going out a few miles to see fin whales a law enforcement boat was fortunately on its way out to where the whale was. 3 months ago