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Gray Whale Sightings Hit Record High Off San Diego

a whale swimming in a body of water

More mammals than usual are choosing the coastal route; perfect weather is helping to make the 2015 viewing season one of the best ever!

Season to Date (since 1 Dec 2014)

Southbound — 393

Calves South — 8

Total — 401


We finished December with a record-breaking 393 southbound GRAY WHALES, which is higher than the entire southbound count for 15 of the past 31 seasons! Our 8 southbound newborn calves also set a new December record.

It appears the gray whales are migrating a bit earlier than usual from their Arctic feeding grounds to Baja’s lagoons. No one can be certain just how many of the estimated 21,000 Pacific gray whales have already passed southern California but 5 whales were seen yesterday (January 1, 2015). More whales than usual are remaining close to the coast. With high visibility and calm waters sightings are being logged in record numbers. The 2014 Whale Watching season could be among the best in the history of commercial whale watching.

It was a record December for the ACS-LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project, whose volunteers have been counting whales from the Point Vicente area on the Palos Verdes Peninsula every day during the migration period from December through mid-May since 1984.

There have even been several groups of six, seven, and eight whales passing through, with many of them showing their flukes. We’re used to seeing one, two, or maybe three,” said Alisa Schulman-Janiger, director of the census and behavior project. “And many have been very close to shore. It has just been whale after whale.” (Excerpts taken from an  article on Grind TV by Pete Thomas 12/29/14)

The following images are courtesy of Pete Thomas.