California Spear Fishermen Encounter Blue Whale

   09.26.13

Two spear fishermen perusing the waters off San Diego’s Point Loma had a strange catch last Friday morning. The catch was only on camera, and definitely not a fish. According to U-T San Diego‘s Gary Robbins, fisherman Andrew Harmer and a friend managed to come within 30 feet of a blue whale, the largest known animal to have ever existed.

Larger than even the dinosaurs, blue whales can weigh over 100 tons. Despite their large size, these leviathans feed primarily on tiny krill, which they sift through massive baleen plates. Blue whales are intelligent and for the most part gentle creatures that share the inquisitive nature of smaller whales. Unlike other whales, however, close encounters between humans and blue whales are relatively rare. As the animal slowly passed by below, Harmer told U-T San Diego that his first reaction was to turn on his camera.

“The whale was moving quite fast, as blue whales do, so it was under me and past me in quite a short amount of time,” Harmer said. “I dove down a little way to get a shot of the tail as it was leaving, and then it was gone. Up on the boat shortly after, we could see the whale continuing in a straight course to the northwest, the way it was going as it passed us.”

The fishermen had originally planned on heading back to boat due to the lack of fish, narrowly missing the whale. They were glad they stayed.

“Quite an exciting chance encounter,” said Harmer.

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