By Audrey Evans, whale watching coordinator
Once again, it’s time to bid farewell to the gray whales; Birch Aquarium at Scripps’ 2011-12 whale watching season has drawn to a close. We are pleased with the season’s success; more than 500 baleen whales were spotted in the past three-and-a-half months.
Our passengers – along with aquarium naturalists, volunteers, and the Flagship Cruises crew – were treated to a number of marine marvels: whale breaches, spy hopping, cow/calf pairs, and even mating gray whales, to name a few. Dolphin acrobatics entertained nearly every cruise, and our crew spotted several “mega-pod” sightings throughout the season.
Sightings By the Numbers
Migrating gray whales: 473
Fin whales: 54
Humpback whales: 13
Minke whales: 3
Common dolphins (approx.): 10,000+
Pacific white-sided dolphins (approx.): 710
Bottlenose dolphins (approx.): 310
Risso’s dolphins (approx.): 265
Most baleen whales seen in one day: 16
Total cruises: 194
Aquarium naturalists: 7
Percentage of fun had on the boats: 100%!
We’ve loved every minute of these amazing animal encounters and truly enjoyed sharing the experience with our guests. We met locals who’d never seen a gray whale up close as well as tourists from all over the world who came to San Diego to witness this awesome migration. Each guest brought his/her unique perspective, yet the experience seemed to thrill each of them the same.
Whether you’re a whale-watching regular or a newbie, we invite you to join us on the sea next season. The fun will begin again on Dec. 26, 2012!