Breaching Gray Whale at Point Dume on a Pink and Yellow Hazy Day

9 North Bound 0 South Bound 6.75 hrs

Hazy shades of pink and yellow from smog and marine layer today, seen across the Santa Monica Bay to Port Hueneme. The ocean was flat and calm with 1-3 mph wind. A visiting group of whale census counters from the American Cetacean Society- Los Angeles (ACS-LA) were out this morning on a photography walk to look for whales and counted an additional 7 whales in 3.75 hrs and spotted a golden eagle! A rare sighting in this park! ****see note at end of post****

Breaching whale seen above! The whole sequence takes place in less than one second! Thankfully this whale breached three times allowing a second and third chance to capture the spectacular feat. It takes an enormous amount of energy 28 km/h or just over 17mph to burst up out of the water- the last photo in this gallery above is actually just before the breach started…a light blue ring of water seen with bubble blasts or under water exhales but this whale breached up and out with water spewing from the mouth not a typical breach behavior seen. Water spewing from the mouth is seen when gray whales are feeding. Gray whales are also opportunistic feeders and while they don’t usually eat on the migration path they do display feeding behaviors along our transect. This is the first captured breach with theses details. Below is the second breach that was ventral (belly) side to the camera. No water spewing from the mouth.

The park is covered in ancient yellow Giant Coreopsis blooms, just past peak in Point Dume Natural Preserve.

One gray whale chased by overly enthusiastic paddlers abruptly changed directions, fluked for a deep dive as it headed out to deeper water. The fluke footprints of another stealthy whale can be seen in the flat calm ocean.

****To note: Thank you for all the sightings shared with me!!! This extra antidotal data collected from a variety of reliable sources help track the seasonal changes and daily pace of the gray whale migration which is of great value. The daily tallies posted are empirical and shared with the ACS-LA at the end of the season and during the migration with unusual sightings. Antidotal data will be posted at the end of the season once the empirical data is complete ( I am working through a huge back log). Please keep sharing! Your sightings and any details matter especially during the cow/calf portion of the migration with ongoing Unusual Mortality Event! Thank you caring about the Gray Whales and Please keep sharing!

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