By Nick, Whale Watching Naturalist
The 2018-19 whale watching season has come to a close, and what a season it has been! When it comes to baleen whales, we have seen:
- 403 Gray Whales
- 84 Humpback Whales
- one Minke Whale
- 52 Bottlenose Dolphins
- 1,275 Pacific White-Sided Dolphins
- 13,488 Common Dolphins
Guests and naturalists alike were wowed by these animals. With the Gray Whales mostly having passed San Diego, we look forward to seeing them again in the winter.
Gray Whales are heading back up the coastline to the Bering Sea, where they will spend the summer gorging themselves on shrimp-like amphipods found in the Arctic mud. Gray Whales are unique in that they are the only living species of baleen whale that are primarily benthic, or bottom, feeders.
These animals can consume up to 2,400 pounds of food each day during the summer. This massive feeding causes most adult Gray Whales to gain an additional 16-30% of their bodyweight. While these numbers may seem huge, the whales need to gain fat both to store as blubber for temperature regulation in cold waters, and to have enough energy to fuel the next years migration.
Though this season has come to an end, we will see the whales again as early as December of this year! Hopefully you will join us to see them during their next migration.