It’s that time of year again where Santa Barbara welcomes one of its largest visitors. From November to December Gray Whales leave the Bering Sea to head down to the warm lagoons of Mexico where they will have their calves and then return north to feed. This 8,000-mile round trip is one of the longest migrations of any mammal. Santa Barbara, being quite low on the migration route, has the wonderful opportunity to view these whales on their way south and back north throughout the first several months of the year. Quite often, we can even spot these whales in no more than 50 feet of water! Another special treat is the opportunity to view mothers with their new calves. After a 13-month gestation period, calves are born at about 13 to 16 feet in length and 1500 pounds. These whales will grow to an average of 39 to 46 feet and are mottled gray in color. The whales can most easily be spotted by their “blow” or powerful exhalation. Make sure to get out on the water to see these amazing creatures in their natural habitat!
Article by Naturalist Sophie Busch