Please note: This is an older article that was originally published over 7 years ago. It may contain outdated information, so please double-check any dates, hours, or other information before confirming your plans. Thank you!

Annual migration of the gray whale is currently underway.

The Whale Watching Season

Half Moon Bay is the perfect spot for witnessing the journey of these spectacular creatures. Beginning in January and running 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. Their migration pathway follows closely along the California coast, providing us with outstanding opportunities for coastal whale watching.

The Whale Migration

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.

You can view whales from a distance along the many bluff accesses up and down the Coastside from Montara to south of Half Moon Bay for many miles.

Local Trips

Several local companies offer whale-watching excursions which include other mammal sightings: harbor porpoises, stellar sea lions, harbor seals, dall's porpoise, white sided dolphins, rizzo dolphins, harbor porpoise, elephant seals, northern fur seals, harbor seals and California sea lions.

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Authored by Terry Plank