I’m heading up to Monterey in a couple of days for the Grand Opening of the newly renovated Monterey Conference Center. It will be a jam-packed itinerary, but I’m hoping there might be a chance to sneak a peek at the other big happening in Monterey: the peak of whale-watching season.
While blue whales, humpback whales, orcas and sperm whales can be seen throughout the year in Monterey, this is the time of the great gray whale migration. Thousands of the majestic creatures travel through Monterey Bay on their way to Mexico for breeding and calving. As the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau explains, “The exciting gray whale migration begins with pregnant mothers leaving the Bering Strait in October for Baja, Mexico. They are followed by the general population and then juvenile whales who all head south for the warmer waters of the lagoons in Mexico. By the third week of January, vast numbers of whales can be seen heading south.”
In mid-February, gray whales can again be spotted from the cabins and decks of vessels run by whale-watching tour companies that operate out of Monterey and Moss Landing. The whales are heading north to Alaska. Then, in April the mothers return again with their calves. With killer whales sometimes lying in wait to attack the calves, the mothers save their young by guiding them to shallow waters. It’s an incredible sight.