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Articles in Category: Whales, Porpoises & Dolphins
Minke whales are the second smallest species of baleen whale, with the pygmy right whale taking the number one spot. Minke whales have a slender torpedo shape, with a very triangular shaped head. They have very small dorsal fins that hook sharply backwards. Minkes average 8 to 9m (26-30 feet) in length and weigh 8-10 tons. Their baleen plates which they use to filter-feed small prey such as krill, herring and sand lance, measures 30 cm (12 inches) in length.
Gray whales are a type of baleen whale who make North Pacific waters their home during spring and summer months. Gray whales have the longest migration of any marine mammal, traveling over 20,000km (12,500 miles) round trip on their annual migration from the Bering Sea to Mexico and back. Gray whales like so many other species of mammals, fish and birds, feast on the rich blooms of plankton and fish eggs in the cold northern Pacific Ocean.
It is a common mistake for people to assume that the words porpoise and dolphin are synonyms describing the same animals. In fact, porpoises and dolphins are two separate groups of cetaceans with many physical differences. To start, porpoises are much shorter and more muscular than dolphins, making them the fastest type of cetaceans in the world. Porpoises possess very flat and tiny teeth, while dolphins have large, conical teeth.
Porpoises are often confused with being the same animals as dolphins, but the two groups of marine mammals maintain significant differences. Porpoises are shorter, stockier animals with flat faces, as opposed to the curved beak of dolphins. Porpoises have two blow holes, whereas dolphins have one. Porpoises have tiny, flat teeth, very different from the large, conical teeth found in dolphins. Porpoise and dolphin species differ genetically and do not interbreed.
Although Pacific White-Sided Dolphins are not rare to southern Vancouver Island and Puget Sound, WA, they are seldom seen in the Straight of Juan de Fuca. Their range extends from the Aleutian Islands south down the Pacific coast. The population in the North Pacific numbers 30,000 to 50,000 individuals.
The Johnson Street Bridge is a well-known landmark of the Upper Harbour in the city of Victoria. It was painted a bright blue to match the corrosion colour of the metal, and thus nicknamed ʻThe Blue Bridgeʼ. It is a double-lifting span bridge, where the bridge is lifted at one end with a counterweight at the other end. The bridge was designed by Joseph Strauss, who later went on to design the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The bridge officially opened to vehicle and railway traffic in 1924. The bridge has had troubles from the beginning, with operators unable to lower the bridge after raising it for the first time. The railway section of the bridge is no longer in use and further structural problems have led to plans to begin construction of a replacement bridge in the near future.