Great Balls of Tuna!
While we didn’t find any baleen whales during the Hornblower Whale Watching cruise on Friday, July 15, guests were treated to the exciting experience of a feeding frenzy! Our captain spotted five huge balls of tightly packed bait fish, splashes at the surface and seabirds diving from above. As we neared the baitballs we noticed that the water was boiling with bluefin tuna that were leaping out of the water and feeding on the bait fish. While guests on sportfishing boats occasionally catch tuna, it is rare to actually see tuna, especially bluefin tuna at the surface like this.
Bluefin tuna are the largest type of tuna and can reach lengths of 6 to nearly 10 feet and weigh more than a thousand pounds. This makes the bluefin a highly prized catch for both commercial fisheries and sportfishing boats. The commercial demand has led to overfishing and the Pacific species of bluefin tuna is listed as a threatened species. You can help bluefin tuna and other ocean wildlife by choosing seafood that is caught with sustainable and wildlife-friendly methods.
Our sighting of the bluefin tuna was accompanied by more than 50 terns diving down into the baitball to catch fish. All of this created an incredible feeding frenzy and an amazing experience for the guests, naturalists and crew!