Playing with Blue Whales~

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Okay so we’re not at The Holler, but we’re not on a trip either…… not exactly. We’re just heading up to NoCal to rendezvoux with the kids. A family visit, not a trip. But, since we were driving…..we stopped at Channel Islands National Park to play with the Blue Whales, and dolphins and humpbacks. I kid you not. Next time you feel like going to Sea World to see some marine mammals. Don’t. Save money and save animals. Go see ’em in a protected national park, in their natural habitat. Here they play with you……by choice!
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I have never been so up close and personal with blue whales. They were all over the Santa Barbara Channel today. Swimming upside down under our boat and spraying us with spouts. I’ll post more pics soon, and tomorrow we head out again to a different island!
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You may have heard blue whales are big. The biggest creatures on the planet with tongues the size of African Elephants. But who knew they liked to play with people? The humpbacks were playing too, several of them. What a major thrill! This makes Sea World look like what it is, a bunch of concrete, chlorinated swimming pools full of captive cognizant cetaceans.
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We also saw sleeping pods of sea lions.
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And drowsy, daydreaming Pelicans. There were so many more incredible critters!
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We spent all day on Anacapa Island, one of the five islands in Channel Islands National Park.
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Anacapa is composed of three interconnected islets.
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The islands are similar to the Galapgos in that evolution has proceeded independently of the continental US. As an odd aside, today we saw both Brown and Blue Footed Boobies, birds most frequently seen in the Galapagos and not normally present here. There are 145 plant and animal species found only on the Channel Islands and nowhere else in the world. Tomorrow we go in search of the Channel Island Foxes so please stay tuned. We have seen them before. They are small, one of a kind in the world, and very, very friendly. They have no human enemies. Imagine that!
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The Channel Islands have painted caves, named by the colorful sea algae that make them look like Gauguin painted them!
Cheers to you from the very happy and very FREE sea life around Anacapa Island~
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182 thoughts on “Playing with Blue Whales~

  1. Fabulous! You find the most wonderful places to visit Cindy! Thanks for taking me along with you for the ride, but I must admit I was a bit nervous about the giant blue whales playing so hard they would turn the boat over! 🙂 I so enjoyed this story and really do wish I was there with you.

    • Blue whales are so intelligent and so majestic. I have only seen them a few times in my life and never this close. It was a thrill of a life time. If you want to see blue whales come here or the Sargasso Sea near the coast of Gibraltor. You would absolutely love the experience Dor! <3

  2. When I was in Florida we were out on a boat near shell island off the coast of Panama City and I saw dolphins but never a whale. Wow and the sea lions are so cute! Beautiful photos and the water is so blue! I bet you were in awe!

    • Yes, Catalina is the most developed and touristed of the Channel Islands, not a part of Channel Islands National Park, essentially because it was developed long ago, by Wrigley of Wrigley chewing gun~

  3. Marvelous, Cindy! 🙂
    Thank you for sharing!
    I’ve seen Sperm whales in front of the coast of the Lofots, but they do not play with boats. You only see them between their long divings, when they breathe for some minutes. It’s one of my goals to observe blue whales or humpbacks in very close distance. I’m really jealous… 😉 kind regards from Stefan

    • Well I hope you do so, I saw lots of Blue Whales as I left the Sargasso Se towards Gibraltor and here in the Santa Barbara Channel off Channel Islands National Park. I hope you do see them. What a thrill!

  4. What a place to visit… I do agree don’t go to the sea worlds of the world but rather try to see these mammals in their natural habitat…. Cindy I love your photos…

  5. Reblogged this on Spirit In Action and commented:
    Wow! In California even the Pelicans have surfer hair;-) ( our brown pelicans don’t have that awesome day-glo yellow top knot 😉
    Cetaceans are arguably the most intelligent beings on Earth so it’s not surprising that they are also the most playful and joyful. Like the ancient enlightened kung fu masters in the movies who are always laughing and playing jokes. I’m in complete awe of our dolphins-i can’t wait to meet those amazing whales. There’s a guy named Wade Doak I read his books years ago. He plays and records music with whales in Puget sound and other areas out there. I agree wholeheartedly with Cindy-amusement parks that enslave living beings for profit are sick. Those concrete pools are to them what being in a white room with no furniture where they never turn the lights off-for years-would be like for us. It’s more amazing that so many whales and dolphins in those horrible situations have been so very kind and gentle with their captors for so many years than that an abused whale like Tillikum snapped and became violent a few times.

    • I agree with everything you are saying my friend. You can smell the intense cholrine coming off the pools in Sea World. It is such an unnatural envirnonment. Cheers to you my friend and thank you too~

    • You can also see pods and pods of orcas swimming free, spy hopping, playing with boats out of Telegraph Cove on Vancouver Island BC. Spectacular creatures in their own family pods!

  6. That’s great! I never saw a blue whale. I did a whale watch this summer and we saw humpbacks and fin whales, but the blues usually don’t visit this part of the east coast. Anacapa Island looks and sounds marvelous.

    • The last time we were here we saw a Blue. I have seen Blues only three times in my life with a lot of time on the ocean! These were up close and personal! Fabulous~

  7. The whales are magnificent in this preserved environment. Am in awe that the boobies have made their presence. I love the Galapagos, so I can see why this park is so unique. Good luck with the fox.

  8. It is sad that more people aren’t able to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. In doing so, I think we would all agree that being entertained by them in enclosed pools is not where they should be!

    My husband & I had the opportunity to go whale watching when we were in Cape Breton. After spending a few moments trying to capture the perfect shot, I gave my head a shake & thought what I am doing? I need to just take in this experience & watch the incredible beauty right in front of me.

  9. Great post! Great photos! So true about the cruelty of capturing theses magnificent creatures. Do you think this trip would be possible in January when I’m next in California?

    • Absolutely, this is during the California Grey Whale migration. Check out the Channel Islands National Park website for all you need to know to plan your trip and you’ll see a link there to Island Packers, the boat company that takes you to the islands. You can see therir schedules and what animals you will be likely to see! Hope you do go!

  10. How wonderful is that! Beats Sea World to bits. We live about 15 minutes from Sea World and we’ve been one time about 20 years ago. Give me your Channel Islands any day! So beautiful, especially knowing they’re free and independent. Beautiful post, Cindy!

  11. Beautiful shots of the blue whales. My youngest daughter, husband and kids saw the blue whales while on a recent trip to Calif. when they stayed at Newport Beach. Where exactly is that island (Anacapa)? I don’t remember hearing of that one when we lived out in Calif. in the late sixties. One of our favorite places to visit though was Catalina Island.

    • Anacapa is off the coast of Oxnard California. Catalina is one of the Channel Islands, but not a national park, since it was developed long ago. Today we go out of Ventura Harbor to Santa Cruz Island.

  12. I loved this post for the utter exuberance of your wildlife adventure, and the reminder of the importance of allowing our sea creatures to live freely in the sea. And your photos, as always, were incredible Cindy. 🙂

  13. What a magnificent place! And thank you, Cindy, for using your beautiful photos to share an important message about wild animals, which belong in their natural habitat.

  14. I recently read “When the Killing’s Done” by T.C. Boyle and the Northern Channel Islands are featured. Thanks so much for sharing your trip. They really are similar to the Galapagos. Excellent photos!

    • Ooooooh, the foxes! Your good luck worked in spades, but not until the final hour. My patience paid off and they came out. Three of them. I got around 100 pics and I was so excited I can’t describe. I have never gotten a good pic of a fox until now, because I so rarely see them

  15. Fabulous post , Cindy! You are so right. If you want to see these creatures, go to a natural habitat!
    I can’t stand the idea of cement pools.
    Looking excitedly to see the foxes!

    • Oh my GOD Resa, I almost gave up on the foxes today! The last hour on the island, and bonanza!! I probably got 100 photos of three foxes. I could have easily touched one of them. Channel Island foxes are only located here! The only species in the world. They are so adorable!!! Wait until you see them. They are red and grey and white, like a mixtures of red, grey and arctic foxes!

    • I saw two in Alaska in five trips. They do hunt them there which makes them so shy, But guess what I got so up close and personal today! I got around a 100 pics! Thrilled outa my gourd!!!

  16. This is so awesome Cindy! I grew up in SoCal but never had a chance to see the whales; always wanted to! Santa Barbara is a beautiful place. Thank you for sharing your most spectacular day!

  17. What a whale of a tale, Cindy, about the tail of a whale…. Will have to take this in on our next visit to California…, this and the “holler”.
    Hugs, Cuz !

      • hola primo, sus fotos son magníficas . Su castigo para el día es tratar de traducir mi pobre español en Inglés comprensible . Sí … , estoy tomando una clase en español primaria para tratar de volver a aprender lo que se me ha olvidado en los últimos 40 años. Buena suerte ! ( para los dos ) …

    • I hope you do soon! When you are in the presence of whales up close, they fill your senses and you focus on nothing else. This is why people spontaneously cheer when they see them~

  18. Amazing pictures Cindy, so much better to see them in their natural environment! 🙂 The first time I saw a Whale was in a zoo – jumping through hoops. I thought it was wonderful as a child, but it makes me quite uncomfortable thinking about that day now – not the right way to treat such a majestic sea mammal, shouldn’t be allowed. 🙁

  19. What an incredible adventure, Cindy. You have such a wonderful life! 🙂 I read about the Channel Islands in the Nature Conservancy magazine a while back and specifically about the foxes. Lucky you!

    • I have some not very good photos of the shimmering blue belly and side flippers of the blue as it flipped over and went belly up under the boat. I swear it was waving! It is just pure joy to be so near to such magnificent creatures. If everyone experienced this, they would become whale conservationists!

  20. Cindy, the pictures and story to go with them are beautiful. I once had the great privilege of going whale watching in the Pacific, close to Tofino. A humpback chose to surface very close to our little Zodiac boat. It’s an experience I’ll never forget. Thanks for reminding me with this post.

  21. Oh my gosh Cindy, these photos really bring back memories from the time I lived in the Santa Barbara area. I also took a tour of the Santa Barbara channel to view the blue whales and other marine life. Breathtaking isn’t it?

  22. It is wonderful how you pointed out that these animals are free to swim and roam, while their poor captive animal cousins are not. I agree with this philosophy, Cindy!
    I adored the green rocks, the blue skies and water scenes along with the magnificent whales! Wow!

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