Hi! Welcome to Spyhop Lane!

My name is Alison, I am a retired (non active) Registered Nurse , Citizen Scientist, with a deep passion for studying the Pacific Gray Whales on their Northern Migration to Alaska. The culmination of my science based education and registered nursing (RN) skills are used  to observe, collect data and document my findings. Michael Smith of the Gray Whale Count in Goleta encouraged me to “unofficially” count the whales at Pt Dume in 2013 where an official census does not take place.  He was my mentor and inspiration for starting this journey. On my blog Spyhop Lane you will  find  images and details of whale behavior, daily updates as time allows plus  images of birds and other wildlife  including  a list of my favorite places and things to do in the area.

My mission is to  contribute behavior data observed and photo identification photos to  the broader cetacean community for the purpose of increased knowledge  about the gray whale behaviors along  the northern migration route.

My goal is to photograph the whales as they pass along the Point Dume State Marine Reserve  and other areas along the California coast documenting each whales unique markings along the dorsal hump ridge and the ventral side of the fluke.

In the future, souvenir items featuring my photographs and graphic designs will be for sale with a percentage donated back to a charity (to be determined) which focuses on research and education about the gray whales.

Why the name Spyhop Lane?  Spyhopping is a cetacean behavior. The  whale emerges from the ocean vertically poking its head straight out of the water, sometimes just past the eyes then sinking back into the ocean. This behavior allows the whale to visually inspect the environment above the water. In 2013 when I began to count the whales I noticed  many of the whales displayed spyhopping behavior along the coast in consistent locations. The whales also seem to stay in a particular lane similar to cars on a freeway or swimmers in a race. There are specific sections along the coast where  the whales spyhop the most often and specific paths or lanes the whales take along the migration north crossing huge bays and small inlets  up and down the coast.  The part of Point Dume where I observe and take this survey is one of those lanes where the whales stop and can be seen spyhopping thus the name Spyhop Lane.

For any additional information please send questions or concerns to spyhoplane@gmail.com

Thank you for stopping by, caring about the gray whales and the research being done. 2017-03-01-gray-whale-breach


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