January through April is the longest migration of any mammal, which passes through San Diego’s coastline. The gray whale, whale watching season is about to start and an estimated 32,000 to 35,000 gray whales will head from Alaska to the warm shallow waters off Baja, California. Traveling night and day, the gray whale averages approximately 75 miles per day at an average speed of 5 mph. This is a round trip of approximately 9,900–13,700 miles.
The three most popular lagoons are Scammon’s, San Ignacio and Magdalena Bay. The first gray whales to arrive are usually pregnant mothers looking for the protection of the lagoons to bear their calves, along with single females seeking mates. By mid-February to mid-March, the bulk of the population has arrived in the lagoons, filling them with nursing, calving and mating gray whales.
Throughout February and March, the first gray whales to leave the lagoons and head north are males and females without new calves. Pregnant females and nursing mothers with their newborns are the last to depart, leaving only when their calves are ready for the journey, which is usually from late March to mid-April. Often, a few mothers linger with their young calves well into May.
San Diego is a perfect spot for viewing gray whales. On their southbound journey the whales typically hug the coastline and we can usually find gray whales just a few miles outside Mission Bay. The northern migration features mothers and calves and are found typically a little further offshore. Chartering a boat, like the Outer Limits, is a great alternative to the larger more impersonal whale watching operations. It’s a lot more fun with a few family and friends, rather than a couple hundred strangers and the cost are often comparable. During the gray whale watching season the Outer Limits is available for charter and is capable of taking up to 40 clients. Whale watching trips typically last for 3 hours.
We typically locate the whales by a spout of water or mist as they exhale often seen from a few miles away and head towards their last location. Usually the whales will come up to the surface for three to five minutes at a time and the dive for about three to five minutes. Most times they follow this pattern which makes it easy for us to follow Once we determine the whales course line, we then parallel the whales keeping close enough for pictures, but without impacting their course. We have the opportunity to see many other forms of marine life as well, including orcas finback and blue whales, common and pacific white sided dolphin and many bird species. Each trip offers interesting opportunities and a new experience.
For more information or questions about Outer Limits Sportfishing: visit www.OuterLimit.net or call 858 689 1828