This is the time of year that gray whales follow their twelve-thousand mile migratory round-trip to the Pacific lagoons of Baja California Sur, where they calve and nurse their newborns in the tranquil and food-rich water, preparing them for the long springtime trip north back to their summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas. So far this year, the migration seems a bit early; Whale tour company, Whale Magic Tours operating near Bahia Asuncion in Baja Sur, has reported seeing quite a few already in November nearing the end of their southbound route.
Even San Diego got into the act a little early; on November 20, Hornblower Cruises reported a sighting in the bay: “On Sunday, guests on one of our Harbor Tours were treated to fantastic views of a juvenile Gray Whale — the first of the season for us — entering San Diego Bay! A couple hours later a group of 4 Bottlenose Dolphins crossed the bow of the boat in the same location. On Monday, we spotted the same whale under the Coronado Bay Bridge. The whale spouted and then breached then spyhopped to have a look around. It breached a couple more times giving us a great look at the youngster’s darker gray coloration and then headed farther into the bay”
Hornblower officially began their gray whale season this past weekend on December 9. The twice-daily, 3.5 hour trips include live narration from volunteer naturalists from the San Diego Natural History Museum.