Gray Whale Migration News Flash
Whales Sighted off Coast of British Columbia
Just when you think you're beginning to see a pattern and reach understanding, new information clouds the picture. That is science...
In mid-February, Laura Gorodesky reported that the northbound migration past Santa Barbara had begun. We challenged you to guess how long it would take for these whales to reach Kodiak. Now this news:
Last week I made contact with Brian Congdon of Subtidal Adventures in Ucluelet, British Columbia (48.75 N, 125.25 W). On Sunday, February 23 he saw 2 Gray whales in 30 minutes heading northbound. These northbound sightings are confirmed by Jamie Bray of Jamie's Whaling Station in Tofino, British Columbia (48.80 N, 125.30 W) who told me he has seen the gray whales going by, heading north, since February 1st!
In addition, John Calambodidis of Cascadia Research in Olympia, Washington has had some reports of gray whales in Puget Sound. These animals are likely not part of the mainstream migration, but may be resident whales that have strayed into the area. Gray whales have been reported to stay all along the coast throughout the winter, so it is possible that these British Columbia sightings are not the whales reported by Monterey Bay Whale Watch on February 11 and included in my report of February 25.
In Westport, Oregon Geoff Grillo of Advantage Sport Fishingsaw 7 gray whales on Friday, February 27 and 1 whale on Saturday, February 28. These sightings he made during a whole day of crab fishing. On Saturday, February 28, Marine Discovery Tours of Newport, Oregon went out but did not see any whales. The weather was very rough so sighting blows may have been difficult.
As you can see, consistently sighting whales is tricky business. Next week we should be able to see more of the picture. Stay tuned!
National Marine Fisheries Service
Reporting From Kodiak, Alaska