Sailors Choice What's Under There?
observance of whales from boats goes back hundreds of years, the only
difference is that now man only hunts with a camera, allowing the whales
to go on their way after the encounter. Whale watching has spread
around the world, the west coast of USA has the Gray, the Humpback and
Killer Whales, the east coast has the Baleen, Humpback, theToothed, the
Fin, Minke and the Right Whales, there are Humpbacks off
Queensland, Australia and Sperm, Humpback and Orca off New
Zealand. The Sperm, Seri, Beaked, False Killer, Pygmy Sperm and
Pilot Whales swim off the Azores, while killer whales visit the coasts
of Norway and Sweden and Humpbacks frolic off Hawaii. And the
Bryde's, Humpback and Southern Right pass the shores of South Africa.
On the west coast of the USA, the gray whale population making the migration between Alaska and Baja is over 23,000 according to the National Marine Fishery Service, surpassing pre-whaling numbers. The migratory whales can be seen from coastal headlands and from boats. Being at sea with the grays calls for etiquette, whale etiquette.
Always approach whales slowly with slowly revving engines. It gives them the chance to spot you and track your boat. No surprises.
Stay at least 100 yards away from the pod. Nothing likes to be crowded and with the surge in migratory births, some whales will be traveling with babies.
Track them at a constant speed, going no faster than the slowest moving whale. Nobody likes to be tail-gated either.
The whale spends the summer and the early fall months in the arctic waters of the Chukchi and Bearing Seas feeding off bottom sediment before heading south to breed and for warmer waters. In the late fall, the whales start their 5000 mile migration south to Baja California, one of the longest trips for mammals. There are now over 23,000 gray whales passing by the west coast of the United States in December and January on their southern migration and going north in March and April .
The female gray whale usually produce offspring every 2 to 3 years after a gestation period of 12 to 13 months. Another female gray whale helps the mother when the calf is born, she's the auntie, . The shallow lagoons of Baja California provide the perfect nursery for the newborn calf, which weighs about 1,500 pounds and is about 15 feet long. The mother whale's milk is 53% fat, which is 10 times richer than cow's milk and necessary for the calf to build up blubber for the long migration north. They are weaned at about eight months, after the trip back. The calf must get in shape before the long trip north and swims against the lagoon currents to develop its swimming muscles. By the time the whales leave the lagoons the calves are about 19 feet long, and weigh about 3,000 pounds.