The annual migration of the gray whale is currently underway, and Half Moon Bay is the perfect spot for witnessing the journey of these spectacular creatures.
Beginning in early December through the end of March, approximately 15,000 gray whales swim south from the icy waters of the Arctic to mate and nurse their young in the warm, shallow lagoons along Magdalena Bay in Baja, California.
The full round-trip migration from the Bering Sea to the Baja calving lagoons is approximately 10,000 miles, the longest known migration for any mammal. Gray whales move at a steady speed of about five miles per hour, and most can be spotted in an area that extends from the kelp beds (about 3/4 miles from the shoreline) out to the horizon.
For those who like to plan ahead, March through early April is a great time to spot humpback whales as they begin moving closer to shore.
Several local companies offer whale watching excursions:
Huli Cat Sportfishing, (650) 726-2926, www.hulicat.com
Half Moon Bay Sportfishing & Tackle, (650) 728-3377, www.hmbfishing.com
Princeton Pantry, (650) 726-7133
Riptide Sportfishing, (888) 747-8433, www.riptide.net