Flue: The Hybrid Whale – 23/7/20

On Thursday, July 23, 2020, my husband and I went on a whale watching excursion with Island Packers in Ventura to explore the wildlife in the waters off Channel Islands National Park.  Captain Joel explored the Santa Barbara channel and found a wealth of marine life, including Common and Bottlenose Dolphin, Minke Whales and several Blue Whales.

We followed a Blue whale for several minutes, and then another whale approached us from the waters off Santa Cruz Island.  This curious whale was unlike any other whale in the area.  Its dorsal fin appeared to be damaged, and it was larger than the fin of a Blue whale.  The coloration of the whale appeared to be darker than a Blue whale, much like the characteristics of a Fin whale.

As we watched this whale, it showed its fluke.  Fin whales don’t generally show their fluke before going on a deep dive.  The captain did further investigation and confirmed that this whale’s name was “FLUE”, a Fin / Blue hybrid whale!

This whale is extremely rare, and may be the only hybrid whale in the West coast waters of the Pacific.  Recent news has revealed that researchers have tagged and took a biopsy from FLUE since it was first discovered in the Monterey Cove in Baja California in the early 2000s.

We would like to express our appreciation for this amazing discovery and experience to Captain Joel and the Island Packers of Ventura.-Loriannah

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