Day two of the San Diego Whale Watching season brought a special treat for all adventurers – a pregnant whale! On the AM tour, we saw some amazing whale sights. It was a beautiful day – felt like summer and we could see the whales from a mile away. Some highlights from the morning tour included 1 pregnant female gray whale going south, 25 Rissos with a sea lion following them, and 50 common dolphins riding bow wave. The captain said it is very rare to see Risso’s this close to land this early in the season.
On the PM tour, we continued to have good luck spotting the whale, including 2 gray whales going south (1 pregnant female, one maybe three years old) and 4 bottlenose dolphins in the bay riding bow.
Risso’s Dolphins (Grampus griseus) are commonly called Grampus because of their species name, Grampus griseus. They reach lengths of at least 4 meters (15 feet) with newborns reported to measure 1.5 meters. Risso’s dolphins are thought to eat squid and occasionally fish. Risso’s dolphins have several distinguishing characteristics, which make them fairly easy to identify. They have a large curved dorsal fin that is far back and is generally darker than the rest of the body. Adults appear light gray to nearly white in coloration mostly due to the scarring patterns from the dolphins raking their teeth across each other. Their snout has no pronounced beak and there is a unique v-shaped indentation on the forehead.