As fall approaches in the Artic the days get shorter and the water becomes colder. The changing seasons prompt Gray Whales to migrate south to the warmer waters of Mexico. They move along the California coast just a few miles off shore. The whales travel south in the winter to breed, and once the calves are strong enough they turn north and head home in the spring. During this migration, December through April, whale watchers have the opportunity to see these majestic animals from the shore or up close on a whale watching cruise.
Southern California offers some of the best whale watching opportunities.Check out this link here. The first whale watching cruises started in San Diego in the 1950′s, and the industry has grown quickly since. Almost any harbor along the coast now offers whale watching tours. Conservationists have become concerned about how this industry affects the marine life. Tour operators are encouraged to adhere to a set of rules to minimize disturbances to the whales and dolphins. When approaching a pod, the boat must minimize speed and noise, and be careful not to approach or come in between the animals.
Whales are not known for their ability to keep appointments, and it is possible no whales will be spotted during the tour. If the whales do not cooperate, other marine animals may prove to be more accommodating: dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, and a wide array of marine birds. If whales are around a keen observer may see a whale spout, a puff of steam released when the animal comes up to the surface to breathe, in the distance. Watchers also may be treated to a show of tail flukes slapping the water or the whales may lunge and breach. Every whale watching tour is unique and it can be a thrilling experience to be so close to these magnificent creatures.