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Photo: Caroline Armon

Do you see the mud circle? It is the muddy area on the water's surface left by a whale that is "snacking." The lagoon's bottom sediment has very little whale food. But the water is rich in plankton and algae. One type of algae is like cotton in texture. Observer Dr. Swartz suggests this gets stuck on the whales' baleen, so maybe they are taking mouthfuls of sand and sediment to clean their baleen! (Whales gulp mouthfuls of sand and sediment from the bottom and squirt it out through their baleen. Any food gets trapped and swallowed.)