Blue whale rescue update: San Diego looks for 80-foot entangled whale
According to a June 28 Dana Point Times report, the blue whale was first spotted about four miles off the Dana Point coast around 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning. Captain Tom Southern, a boat captain for Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, reported seeing the animal and said that it appeared to be sleeping because it was lifting its chin but didn’t lift its tail.
When Southern took a closer look at the blue whale, he noticed 200 feet of blue polypropylene line with two bullet floats used on Dungeness crab pots. Officials believe that the whale tried to get through the line but that the line got wrapped around the mouth and/or the pectoral flippers. The line stretches to the back of its fluke, and then drops down, preventing the animal from eating.
Throughout the day, rescuers made at least six attempts to cut the lines connected to the crab pot since they are pulling down the animal’s tail. One rescuer was able to get his knife up against the line but was unable to get through it.
Dave Anderson, who operates Capt. Dave’s and is part of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Southern California disentanglement response team, commented that the blue whale was seen around 1:30 p.m. on Monday swimming slowly north, but that it then turned around and was heading south towards San Diego.
Anderson is asking boaters on the water to look out for the blue whale. “We don’t know where it will end up. It will not survive with all the gear on it. We have to get it off.”
Anderson said that boaters can recognize the bright orange buoy and two smaller buoys that are still on the whale.
As of Monday night, the blue whale was off the north end of Camp Pendleton. Tuesday reports to NOAA by boaters saying that the whale had been sighted turned out to be incorrect.