A Whale of a Day

A day on the water with @lawaterkeeper starts with incredible views as we head south from the#MarinaDelRey harbor, south towards #PalosVerdesand the PV #MarineProtectedArea #MPAsWork.

Captain Quill whispers softly to the porpoises and whales frolicking beneath the surface as we motor across the Santa Monica Bay. 

Gregory, a student at New Earth takes in the early morning scenary as the boast slips out of the Marina Del Rey Harbor.

Pelicans touch down mere feet from the boat. Gregory claims the seabirds can smell his chocolate chip cookies. 

Common bottlenose and Pacific white-sided dolphins ride along side the LA Waterkeeper boat just off shore from the Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes. 

Captain Quill pulls the boat in close to say hello to friends from the Bay Foundation. These California Scientific Divers are busy mapping out locations for the next Kelp Restoration Project they will carry out with the help of LA Waterkeeper marine biologists and volunteer divers.  

Gregory is fascinated by the beautiful kelp and great visability. 

Captain Michael Quill of @lawaterkeeper is joined by volunteers, Armando Ruiz, Explore Program Supervisor of @newearthlife and Gregory, a student in the New Earth program, as they monitor boat traffic, commercial fishing vessels, recreational fisherman and divers in and around the#PalosVerdes #MarineProtectedArea. Los Angeles Waterkeeper's hard work and dedication to this marine environment can easily be seen in the abundance of healthy kelp beds surrounding@terranearesort and outer lying pockets of reef in the Palos Verdes area. Look below the surface and one will find a thriving fish population that is recovering from overfishing. #Kelp is frequently considered an #ecosystem engineer, providing physical substrate and habitat for kelp forest communities to feed, reproduce, and seek shelter. 

Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeanglia) 

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I'm telling you, Captain Quill of @lawaterkeeperwhispers to all porpoises and whales. We were simply bobbing along in the #SantaMonica #Bay off the coast of #PalosVerdes #Torrance#RedondoBeach, when out of nowhere surfaced a#Humpback #whale. Sitting on the bow, not 25 feet from the massive beauty, I shouted for joy as the gentle giant belly rolled, spewing massive white-water off our port side before spinning and diving for another mouthful of food. 
The key to positively identifying a #HumpbackWhalelies in the underside and trailing edge of their #tailflukes; each one is unique just like a fingerprint. The pectoral fins of this gentle giant are nearly 1/3 as long as the body, with color varying from all black to all white with a leading scalloped edge. This species of #baleen #whale often shows its fluke while diving, making it an ideal candidate for photographic identification. In British Colombia the whales are assigned numbers X, Y, or Z for purposes of identification corresponding to the percentage of black and white appearing on their fluke. For instance, X whales have mostly black tails with less than 20% white on their fluke, Y whales have a fluke showing 20-60% white, while Z whales have more than 60% white in their fluke. 

Identifying the whales is so much fun as we all learn together. 

~ S P L A S H ~

Can I please jump in and ride a Humpback whale?I should point out the grooves highlighted by white water along this Humpback's side. Humpback whales are 'rorqual whales', meaning they have long pleats extending from their lower jaw to their abdomen that enables the throat to expand, allowing in huge amounts of food-filled water while feeding.


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