Unfortunately, no, we don’t mean the Blue Angels – although what’s going to happen at Miramar’s Air Show this year no one knows … at least the contrived “sequestration” won’t be an issue.
No, gentle reader, the Blues to which we refer are far more majestic than the Navy’s aerial exhibition team. I speak, of course, of a gathering of Balaenoptera musculus, Blue Whales.
Good friend and Stearman partner, Steve Byers, saw three of them offshore La Jolla on his way back from Trinity Lake on Sunday, 13July. We spotted them again the next day from his Super Cub on floats. They’ve been hanging around all week and, it appears, they’re going to hang around some more.
I guess it was three or four years ago (must have been four, I was flying for Barnstorming Adventures) when I saw my first Blues offshore San Diego. July is an odd time for whales in these parts. The Grays migrate from Thanksgiving until, maybe, the New Year, but on the return trip they travel north much farther offshore. These Blues, apparently, have found some tasty treats in San Diego’s July waters because they’ve been returning every year since.
Much like the Zonie tourist invasion – although far more pleasant – July appears to be their favorite month, and we’re delighted they’re back. (Could it be Comic-Con? Nah, they’re classier than that. And it’s surely not Del Mar’s opening day hat fest – they wouldn’t be caught dead with that crowd at the track.)
Last year I counted a dozen different Blues on one spectacular flight: big ones, not as big ones, and not so big ones (Blues are never small). They’ll hang offshore La Jolla Cove, offshore the Shores, offshore near the Torrey Pines Buoy, offshore the whole coast, as far as Oceanside and, perhaps, farther north. (I try not to fly into OrangeCounty if I don’t really have to.)
I’m not sure what draws them here, but I’m sure drawn to looking at them from high above, and I’m delighted that they’re back this July. Maybe y’all should climb into SoCal Skies and have a quiet look from a respectful altitude. We don’t wanna disturb them. (Oh, and watch out for the Bravo floors – there’s a sneaky wedge that follows the 295° radial from MZB and the base is 1800 MSL … lotsa pilots have stumbled into it.)
BTW – today, 18Jul14, Lorraine Sullivan and I counted 19 Blues from just offshore La Jolla to 3-4 miles offshore Oceanside. Welcome back, Blues, we hope you stay for a while.