Humpback whales make an appearance
As anyone who travels frequently between Catalina Island and the mainland knows, you never know what you’re going to see in those 26 miles. Giant schools of dolphin, bizarre sunfish and dramatic feeding frenzies are all sights that make the Catalina Island ferry ride much more interesting.
Recently a more infrequent visitor has been making dramatic appearances. Humpback whales, more often associated with their breeding grounds in Hawaii or their feeding grounds in Alaska, have been making a splash around the island. These distinctive giants are known for their haunting songs, which they sing each year – scientists speculate that the songs are probably to attract a mate.
Adult humpback whales are longer than a school bus and weigh an average of 40 tons. Humpbacks are black on their dorsal sides and white on their ventral side and have distinctive long, narrow pectoral fins. These whales are quite the acrobats, frequently bursting from the ocean in a spectacular leap known as a breach.
Humpbacks are not the only whales that thrill travelers to Catalina Island. Depending on the time of the year, visitors can also see fin, grey and blue whales traveling and feeding in the channel.