Meet Hook, a SoCal-Close Blue Whale With a Memorable Tail

Hook and other blue whales have been spied near Long Beach.

It's doubtful that one blue whale will ever say that another blue whale is "large and in charge," but now that we've learned that dolphins call each other by name, well, perhaps sassy whale talk is not far behind.

And if anything is large and in charge, it's the blue whale, which is believed to be the largest living creature on earth. Need to sit and ponder that for a few seconds? We'll give you time. Though the "in charge" bit may be more in question: Blue whales are endangered, and face many threats, so it may be some time before the "in charge" designation comes back around for them. 

We're in the thick of blue whale season here in Southern California, and the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach just christened its latest whale-watching vessel, an M/V Triumphant, in late July. It uses "30 to 40 percent less fuel than conventional passenger vehicles of similar size and speed" -- yay that -- and features tier-style seating at the bow, the better to watch for whales.

And there have been whales, including Hook and Delta, two of the summer's celebrities. The whales have been seen with some frequency in the waters off Long Beach, and they're pretty distinctive: Hook is missing part of its fluke and the end bits of Delta's fluke point up.

Fluke, of course, is a whale's tail, but you know that, ocean aficionado.

Dolphins may call each other by name, but we rather like it when humans put names to animals that could use our support and care. Some might say there's a hint of anthropomorphizing them, but it draws us closer, too, to Hook and Delta and all blue whales. Does a name put a face to something? You bet.

You can hop on a Harbor Breeze Cruise out of Long Beach for $50 on a weekend and $45 on a weekday. There's a combo ticket, too, through the aquarium's Blue Whale and Sea Life Cruise.

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