In the last few years the number and variety of whales migrating closer to shore has grown, and prime gray whale migration season runs from November to April. Each winter, after spending the summer feeding in the food-rich waters of the arctic, the grays swim south along the coast to the bays of Baja California where they mate and nurse their young. This annual gray whale migration brings hundreds of whales along the Laguna Beach coastline.
The finback whale is another whale that you might see this late in the year. Even though the majority of them make their home in the Gulf of California there have been recorded sightings off the coast of California between November and January. The finback whales are one of the fastest whales in the ocean reaching speeds of up to 25 mph, and have received the nickname “greyhounds of the sea”. While they are sounding or diving they keep their tail submerged and the fluke is rarely seen. However, despite their size they have been spotted jumping completely out of the water.
The minke whale also calls this area home, and generally does not migrate the way the bigger whales do. The unique thing about these whales are that they very curious and will sometimes come up to moving boats and follow them. Because of their size, most of their body can been seen when they come up to breathe.
Whale watching tours are offered out of the nearby harbors at Newport Beach and Dana Point. Here are a few companies we recommend which are just a short drive from our Laguna Beach vacation rentals:
Dana Wharf Whale Watching offers a unique tour that puts you in the midst of the mammals while you watch up close as they track the location of nearby whales and dolphin pods. Visit danawharf.com for more information.
Also in Dana Point, stop by the Ocean Institute to learn more about the ocean life which calls the California Coast home. ocean-institute.org.