Largest shark on planet wows boaters in rare California showing

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A San Diego whale-watching company logged an extraordinary daily double Monday with the sighting of a blue whale and a whale shark.

The blue whale is the planet’s largest creature, but the rarer sighting was that of the whale shark – the planet’s largest fish species – far north of its typical range.

“I always say ‘you never know what you’re going to see out there’ and today proved that!” San Diego Whale Watch boasted on Facebook. “Not only did we find hundreds of long-beaked common dolphins, but we found a blue whale, two Molas [sunfish] and a WHALE SHARK!”

Whale sharks, filter feeders that can measure 40-plus feet, are found in tropical waters around the world, including Mexico and Hawaii. Sightings off Southern California are exceedingly rare.

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But hot weather and light winds have allowed for unusually high sea surface temperatures, inviting exotic species such as dorado, or mahi-mahi, and at least the one whale shark.

(Blue whales, which can measure 100 feet and weigh more than 150 tons, feed off California every summer.)

The whale shark that greeted San Diego Whale Watch passengers and crew swam near the boat, allowing for lots of gawking and picture-taking.

The “gentle giants” are incredibly popular among scuba divers and snorkelers in areas they’re known to frequent.

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Story originally appeared on For The Win