John Calambokidis and Kiirsten Flynn, Cascadia Research Collective biologists, were surveying humpbacks and gray whales about 17 miles off Westport, Washington, in late July, when some distinctively tall spouts were spotted.
Upon investigation, the pair found two blue whales known to be from a California group. Calambokidis said this is only the fourth sighting off Washington in 50 years. His photo of one of the whales is shown.
Incidentally, the biologists also observed more than a dozen blue whales off the coast of Southern Oregon.
It's too soon to tell if the whales' northward movement is temporary or not. Time will tell.