Watch Out for the Whales

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AFP/Getty Images
    Bay Area boaters are being warned watch out for whales swimming along the coast after a dead humpback was spotted floating near the Farralon Islands.

    While spectators are flocking to the Bay Area's coastline in hopes of catching a glimpse of one of Mother Nature's most massive creatures, boaters are being warned to also be on the lookout -- but for a different reason.

    Bay Area boaters are being warned watch out for whales swimming along the coast after a dead humpback was spotted floating near the Farralon Islands.

    Scientists saw the 25-foot carcass of a young humpback whale about a mile off the Farralones Sunday while they were working on the islands. They say is looked like the creature died from injuries suffered when it was hit by a boat.

    The young whale body had several gashes -- some up to 2 feet long -- on its sides and near its tail, Jaime Jahncke of PRBO Conservation Science told the Chronicle.

    A plentiful supply of krill is drawing humpback and blue whales to the Bay Area coastline this season. The krill, sort of like tiny shrimp, is so plentiful this summer because their main source of nutrition was stirred up during last winter's intense winds. The krill feasted on the phytoplankton and now, the whales are feasting on the krill.

    Krill is the main source of food for the massive mammals and is abundant in the Monterey Bay and all along the Northern California coast because of the winter winds. Dolphins and other marine life are also benefitting from the abundance of krill.

    The scientists who saw the dead young humpback off the Farralones Sunday had to change their route to avoid a large group of whales feeding near the surface along the way.