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Paul A Duginski
Paul A Duginski
Paul Duginski is a political cartoonist and veteran newspaper staff artist. He enjoys reading history, literature and going bodyboarding whenever he has time.


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Blue whales!

Aug. 12, 2012 2:32 am
Categories: None

The largest creature on the planet is once again roaming the Orange County coast. The North Pacific blue whales, a robust group thought to number about 2,000 animals, feeds on krill along the California coast before heading south to winter on the Costa Rica Dome, a few hundred miles west of Central America.

Almost exactly two years ago, I got to go out and see the whales. Many are familiar with the California gray whale migration, which peaks in March. But for the past decade, blue whales have been appearing in increasing numbers in July and August.

One of my daughters worked at a sport-fishing and whale-watching outfit in Newport Beach, and she hooked me up with a memorable three-hour tour out of the same harbor from which Gilligan and the Minnow departed.

It wasn’t long before our boat seemed like a minnow next to the leviathans of the deep. Our vessel was 75 to 80 feet in length. We had a half-dozen blue whales around us, and at one point our boat had to come to an abrupt stop because a blue had surfaced directly in front of the bow — and it was bigger than the boat!

Blue whales average about 80 feet, but lengths of more than 110 feet have been recorded, with weights up around 200 tons.


(c) 2010 by Theresa DuginskiUsed only with express written permission

I’ve included one of my daughter’s snapshots along with my drawing.

Right now, Southern California is getting through a heat wave, and being three miles offshore where it’s cool and deep is an appealing memory. I was close enough to pick out landmarks in Huntington Beach, and found it amazing to think that blue whales are that close to where I bodyboard.

If you’re in Cali in August and have seen Disneyland and Hollywood again, I recommend booking a day trip to see the grandest creature of all. It’s truly unforgettable.

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