Photo by Ken Shelby, SDNHM Whaler of Mom and Baby whale tail
Photo by Keith Jones of Baby Gray Whale Calf
San Diego Whale Watching continues to be successful each day with reports of sightings of tons of whales and dolphins on Hornblower Cruise right off the coast of San Diego. The most exciting reports come directly from the Captains, like Captain Nick Kriesel who has been leading whale watching cruises for years on Hornblower Cruises. Many of his regular crew members say that Captain Nick has excellent “whale karma” since on a majority of his trips he sights spectacular gray whale behaviors. These whale behaviors include breaching and mating.
Here’s Captain Nick’s whale watching report from yesterday 1/22/14:
The a.m. Whale Watching trip on Adventure Hornblower, we saw three ( 3) gray whales one of them being a newborn gray whale calf, no more than 2-3 days old. We saw 60 white sided dolphins and common dolphins. It was a great trip.
The afternoon Whale Watching trip on Adventure Hornblower, we saw seven (7) gray whales, a group of 4 swimming very fast in a south direction at 8 knots! Another great showing!
More info on Gray Whales:
Gray whale breeding occurs mostly in the winter to early spring while near the surface and in warm waters. The gestation period is about 13.5 months and the calf is born head first (unusual for cetaceans) and near the surface of the warm, shallow waters. The newborn instinctively swims to the surface within 10 seconds for its first breath; it is helped by its mother, using her flippers. Within 30 minutes of its birth the baby whale can swim. The newborn calf is about 15 feet long and weighs about 1-1.5 ton. Twins are extremely rare (about 1% of births); there is almost always one calf. The baby is nurtured with its mother’s fatty milk (53% fat) and is weaned in about 7-8 months. The mother and calf may stay together for about a year. Calves drink 50-80 pounds of milk each day. Gray whales reach maturity at 8 years. Growth stops at age 40 years old. Mature females give birth every other year in the warm lagoons off Baja, Mexico.
Gray whales have a life expectancy of 50-60 years.