It is that time of a year again, folks. Whale watching season in Oceanside, CA is upon us. We love this season because seeing these amazing creatures is such a wonderful and unique sight! Have you spotted any whales so far this season?
What Happens During Whale Watching Season?
What a magnificent display for 20,000 gray whales to migrate from Alaska to Baja California, Mexico then passing through our wonderful city! The whales migrate to Baja California where they find warmer lagoons to mate and give birth. They will remain there until spring, when their calves are strong enough to make the long haul back up North. This is the longest distance that any mammal migrates on an annual basis. The trip is about 12,500 miles. Gray whales are the most common whales seen on migration, but also going a similar route are the Humpback whales. They too are looking for warmer waters but are more difficult to spot. Keep reading to see what differentiates these whales, our surprise visitors, and the best options for whale watching.
Types of Whales
The majority of whales passing through Oceanside during migration season are gray whales. These whales, when mature, will average anywhere from 30-40 feet long. They are identified by their gray markings on their snout and “3-5 shallow baleen plates that run along the lower jaw and the absence of any dorsal fin.”
Humpback whales, which are also common to our shores, take a similar route as the Gray whales. You can distinguish a Humpback by its dorsal fin, “large ventral pleat area along the lower jaw and overall is much darker in color.” These whales are larger than gray whales and can reach up to 50 feet in length.
Blues whales can be easily defined as the largest mammals in the world. They get their name from their blue color, can average over 80 feet in length, and can weigh over 150 tons. When in a hurry, these animals can travel up to 30 miles per hour! Blue whales — unlike the humpback and gray whales — travel during the summertime to cooler waters for feeding.
Learn more about Oceanside Whale Watching here: A Whale of a Season: Whale Watching in Oceanside
Orca (Killer Whales)
To kick off whale watching season we had surprise visitors. On November 24, 2014 a quarter mile from shore, Oceanside had a sighting of a pod of killer whales where they swam around Oceanside for roughly 30 minutes! This was amazing due to the fact that killer whale sightings are so rare. Take a look at an extraordinary O’side day:
Although there is no explanation for their being in Oceanside, theories range from wanting warmer waters in Mexico to climate change affecting ocean temperature and shifting food supply. Orcas can travel up to 100 plus miles per day, and are not well studied since they are not tracked though devices.
What to do During Whale Watching Season
There are many options to take when whale watching. Take a look at some suggestions to see the whales at their best:
- Take a hike and get a beautiful view of the ocean
- Shoreline watching
- Charter a boat out to sea – professionals will take you up close and personal with our sea life friends.
- On these boats you will be able to great views and photos of these amazing creatures along with dolphins and sea lions who also enjoy the migration.
To see all your Whale Watching Options, click here.
Whale watching season is once a year and it is something everyone should experience once in his or her life. Come check out these beautiful creatures be as curious about us as we are about them. Do not miss out on this great opportunity!