Every year, about 26,000 gray whales migrate 10,000 miles from the arctic seas (Bering and Chukchi Seas) to the lagoons of Baja California. And guess which coastline these incredibly large mammals swim along? You got it! They pass by San Diego from the end of December until March. You can see them as they travel southbound from the feeding grounds or on their way back north after mating or calving. Mothers and calves hang close to the shore.
Gray whales usually travel in pods of two or three. They're pretty slow swimmers (about 6 miles per hour). They dive about 100 feet down for three to five minutes, then surface to blow. Gray whales grow to about 46 feet long (females are slightly longer. Ha!), 36 tons and live to the ripe old age of 55 years.
I don't know why, but I always like to know the length of gestation in various animals. So.....it's 12-13 months for the gray whale. Yikes. At birth, the calf weighs about 1200 pounds and is around 15 feet. More yikes. And the mother produces mile that's 53% fat. To put it all in perspective, human milk is 2% fat.
Courtship and mating usually takes place in the warm lagoons of Baja California, Mexico. It's very complicated and often involves more than three whales of mixed sexes! That's all I can say. This is not that type of blog!
Gray whales can be spotted from land, especially from Torrey Pines State Beach and Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma. However, I generally encourage my visitors to shell out for a whale watching excursion. Not because I'm ready for a break from my hostess duties (although sometimes... Ha! Now everyone who has visited us (and there have been a gazillion of you!) is head-scratching and wondering if she/he was a pesky guest!! Hint: just bring a BIG gift)
Back to whale watching...It's super exciting to see these animals from a boat. Excursions cost $25-30 (adult) and last 2-3 hours. Here are some (maybe even all) the companies who will take you out (in alpha order, so I don't hurt anyone's feelings or get sued or whatever):
And if you're adventurous to the max, you can kayak out to the whales ($55-$65) with Hike Bike Kayak San Diego
Do I personally go whale watching?
Capital N. Capital O.
I pratically get seasick in the bathtub. I survived one really horrendous two-hour bout of seasickness on a whale watching excurision. Never. Ever. Again. Ever. That said, I've never had a visitor get sick.
Please visit Travis Erwin, the guy who spearheads My Town Mondays. He'll have a list of links to other Mondayers.
You did notice and are duly appreciative that I avoided all tacky jokes dealing with such expressions as "a whale of a time."