A View of the Mighty Blue Whale

Photos of ©Billy Bennight for Extravagant Behavior

It is Blue Whale watching season with the return of the mighty Blue Whale to Southern California. Every year around this time Harbor Breeze Cruises and Aquarium of the Pacific sponsor a special media whale watching excursion out of Long Beach to explore the edge of Pacific Ocean’s waters off of San Pedro and Long Beach to view these mighty, majestic and beautiful creatures while they feed and navigate in these deep coastal waters filled with krill and other wonderful sea life.

On this excursion, we slipped through the foggy morning air far out into the Pacific Ocean. We eventually settled miles out running parallel with Palos Verdes near a research boat and skip busily tagging a young whale to study its habits and behaviors. The researcher motored over in their Zodiac Hurricane to our Harbor Breeze boat for a mid-water rendezvous where the scientist took the time to explain the process of tagging the whale and the information he was hoping to acquire from his work. It was a first on the many excursions I have taken and a welcome surprise.

After our meet up we continued further out crossing the path of a pod of dolphins until be happened on a large Blue Whale named “Kinko” feeding in the deep on krill. The Aquarium of the Pacific expert recognized the marking of the whale that indicated it was the whale researchers like to call Kinko. Every whale has distinctive markings that make them identifiable. We spent about an hour with Kinko as he would dive and surface in 12 to 15 minutes intervals. It was pretty much a regular day of whale watching and whale feeding as the fog was slowly burning off. Kinko fluked twice while we were there. Once everyone had had their time shooting video or taking pictures we were on way back returning to Rainbow Harbor and Shore Line Village.

Once we returned we were all invited to the new Pacific Visions wing. The grand opening was last month and has been in the making for over 2 years. I took the time before I returned to LA to experience the new space.

Pacific Visions is 29,000 sustainable glass structure featuring an immersive art gallery, multisensory state-of-the-art theater with a gallery featuring digital games and live animal exhibits. There was a pre-show area with a brief video as a prelude to the significantly larger and more impressive theater deeper in the Pacific Visions annex that had a custom screen that has to be seen captured to grasp its impact on the viewer. It filled my field of vision with amazing and dramatic audio. The presentation was as beautiful and it was informative. “State-of-the-art immersive theater” is the best way to describe it. I was impressed.

After the theater experience, you exit on the second floor to the gaming and exhibition area where innovative games and small aquatic displays add to the immersion experience focusing on marine habitat and ecosystems. It’s a fun and engaging learning space where adults and children can explore and learn in an inviting environment. The Pacific Visions expansion hits a lot of high notes and is a superb addition to the Aquarium of the Pacific’s overall mission excite and educate us about the importance of our oceans and the life that inhabits them. It’s a well-rounded journey that ties us all into our world and the vital oceans that surrounds us.

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