Here come the grays! Northbound gray whales, adults without calves, are now starting to pass through our waters headed to the Bering Sea. In the lagoons calves are now starting to greet visitors too, but travel to Mexico is still an iffy proposition.
Our grays will be offshore for the next week or so. They move farther out when seas are high. We have large swell now and it will continue through this weekend, finding them from shore until the swell decreases may be difficult.
Saturday and Sunday are forecasted to be warm and calm but with high swell. Low winds are more important than swell, so this weekend may not be bad on the water, but it is still a bit early to know. Winds less than ten miles an hour are best for whale watching. Higher winds cause the building swell to break, creating small waves called whitecaps, making finding whales difficult.
In mid March the highest number of northbound whales per hour will pass through our waters, but most of March and April are good bets to see gray whales.
MB whale watch is reporting decent numbers, you will see them if you go out on the boats, but expect it to be fairly rolly. If you watch from shore get as high up as you can, and go for projecting points- Point Reyes, Pigeon Point and Davenport are all good. Watch out for sneaker waves if you are on the beach!
The best places to find out what we are or will be seeing are the MBWW site, and the Coal Oil Point site of Journey North, in Santa Barbara. Journey North has a dedicated group of volunteers who record what they see every day. Add three days or so and we will see the whales they report in Monterey, another day to Point Reyes, they swim nonstop at 3-4 mph.