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Still Lots of Fin & Gray Whales Out There!

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Animal Updates | Mammals | Whale Watching

Thursday, March 15, 2018

James S.

Gray whale with its mouth agape above the water surface - popup
Gray whale with its mouth agape above the water surface James Stewart, Aquarium of the Pacific

Well gray whale season the past couple weeks has been very fun for us, we’ve seen plenty of northbound gray whales, some fin whales, lots of dolphins, not too many cow calf pairs yet though. But don’t worry! They’re probably on their way, remember that our consistent gray whale sightings were a little later this year than the last one. It could be possible for the whole season to be shifted back a bit. Typically the males, and females who have not given birth stroll through the area first and then are followed by all of the cow/calf pairs. There has been a large spike in the number of northbound whales recently and only 6 northbound calves spotted by the ACS gray whale census volunteers. Take a look at their information page to keep updated with daily sighting counts!

I was able to go out on the boat with some of our new naturalists this month, they are doing great and will continue to hone their skills as educators and narrators on the whale watch. We had a really fun sighting of a gray whale playing and rolling in some kelp. This whale was not shy at all, even gave us a breach! But probably the best moment of this sighting was when it raised its head just above the surface of the water with its mouth just slightly open and everyone could get a glimpse at their baleen. It was amazing, the boat crew and I just kind of turned our heads at each other in shock almost. Neither of us had seen a gray whale show off its baleen like this. It was absolutely beautiful. Our naturalist had been walking around with a gray whale baleen sample so guests may have already seen what it would look like and were able to further make the connection of how whales feed by observing this one whale’s baleen.

It’s also time to start showing off our amazing team of interns. Here’s a little bit about Tara and her work,

I am a passionate marine biologist and avid wildlife photographer, and am thrilled to be putting these skills to work in conjunction as a part of the Aquarium of the Pacific’s photo identification team. I grew up in Irvine, CA, then attended college at UC San Diego, where I obtained an undergraduate degree in marine biology, and now plan to pursue a career in researching the behaviors, ecology, and evolutionary biology of marine animals. While I explore my research interests, I am also working as an instructor at Birch Aquarium at Scripps and a tour guide at La Jolla Kayak. In my free time I enjoy travelling, SCUBA diving, soccer, hiking, and culinary adventures.

I hope you all can make it down here to Long Beach for a whale watch, it’s just about spring break season too. We’ve had lots of guests on the boat already visiting from other areas of the country sharing in our wonderful whale watch experience. Check out our website and book your combo ticket now for a visit to the Aquarium and a whale watch with Harbor Breeze Cruises.

See you on the water!