Photos courtesy of Bob & Cathy Billingsley
Whale-watching is unpredictable. Whales do what they want,
when they want, where they want. On some days Pacific Ocean weather
is spectacular, on others it’s foggy. On some days you’ll
be surrounded by whales and dolphins, other days you may only see a
single whale spout in the distance, on other days, nothing at all. But
the whale-watching people carefully monitor locations, so there’s
a good chance that you’ll come home with pictures like these,
and an experience you’ll never forget.
The most spectacular whales you can see here are the Blue Whales which are the largest animals that have ever lived on earth. Kids are amazed that they’re even bigger than dinosaurs, they grow up to 100 feet long! California has the largest population of Blue Whales on earth, almost 2,000 animals as of 2006.
The most commonly seen whales are the California Gray Whales which migrate down from Alaska in the Spring to have their calves in the warm waters of Mexico, then migrate back to Alaska in the Fall. Both Blue Whales and California Gray Whales were on the verge of extinction several decades ago, but now they’re protected and making a comeback.
Other whales also make random appearances, such as Pilot
Whales, and Humpback
which are seen a little farther north: from Santa Barbara up to Monterey. It’s
extremely common to see bottlenose
they’ll frequently swim and “play” with the larger
whales. On rare occasions, even Orcas
or “Killer Whales” have been seen here, but
this is not common.
December ~ February
California Gray Whales migrate south from Alaska to Mexico this time of year to give birth to their calves in warmer waters.
February ~ April
California Gray Whales are migrating back to Alaska with their calves. Many people consider this to be the best time of year to see them. Mothers and their calves travel last, they stay close to shore, and they move slowly which makes viewing and picture-taking easier.
June ~ October
Blue Whales appear off the L.A. coast all the way up to Big Sur and Monterey. In July 2006, one Long Beach whale-watching boat company reported 121 Blue Whale sightings!
April ~ Early December
Humpback Whales appear near the Channel Islands off the Santa Barbara coast all the way up to Big Sur and Monterey. Humpbacks are a treat to see because they look spectacular when they breach out of the water. When they do, their long pectoral fins almost make it look like they’re playing and having fun.
|Whale Watching – 22nd Street Landing|
|Whale Watching – American Cetacean Society|
|Whale Watching – Harbor Breeze Cruises|
|Whale Watching – Whale Guide|
Photos by Bob & Cathy Billingsley ● Used with permission.
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