Now that the gray whales have arrived en masse off the San Diego coastline, Joseph Terzi, President and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority believes the time has come for America’s finest city to claim its rightful ranking as the world’s #1 destination for whale watching.
“Eco-tourism has become an increasingly more important component of San Diego’s economy,” Terzi said. Our region’s vibrant, year ‘round whale watching tours are a driving force. No other whale-watching venue can match the diversity of whale and dolphin species that our visitors can encounter throughout the year — against the backdrop of our spectacular geography and world famous climate. So I believe it’s high time that San Diego claims its title as the world’s best whale watching destination.”
Every year over 20,000 gray whales make a 10,000 mile round-trip journey from Alaska to the lagoons of Baja California where the females give birth to their calves. They spend a few months in the warm waters of Baja so their young are able to grow strong enough to begin the long journey back to Alaska in the Spring. It is the longest known distance any mammal migrates on an annual basis. With 70 miles of coastline directly in the migration path, San Diego is an ideal destination to see this impressive parade of gentle giants.
What most people may not realize, however, is that gray whales are only one of the several different species of whales that frequent the waters off the San Diego shores. Local whale watchers frequently encounter blue whales, finback whales, minke whales, humpback whales, and occasionally even killer whales (orcas) at different times throughout the year.