Exploring San Diego


Watch: Gray whale calf hitches a ride on mom's back off Oceanside coast

gray whale mom calf off oceanside.png
Posted at 1:34 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 16:39:20-05

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) — Gray whale migration season is off to a magnificent start, giving an Oceanside whale watching company a magnificent view of two whales swimming south for the winter.

Gray whale migration generally takes place between January and April, according to Oceanside Adventures. On Jan. 9, the company spotted a gray whale cow and calf heading south toward Baja California.

There, the gray whales will mate and give birth before heading back north to their feeding grounds off the coast of Alaska for the summer, the company said.

Mark Newman, a drone photographer with Oceanside Adventures, captured video of the pair as the calf was catching a ride on its mother's back.

"When they are first born they need the mother to help bring them to the surface to breath and rest on mom during the long journey as they get stronger day by day," Carla Mitroff, manager at Oceanside Adventures, said. "These mammals have the longest migration of approximately 10,000 - 14,000 miles round trip and years ago were hunting to nearly extinction. Since then, being protected their population has rebounded to approximately 27,000."

The company recommends anyone who is whale watching to stay at least 100 yards away as directed under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Violators of the MMPA can face a $10,000 fine plus other civil monetary penalties and up to 1-year in prison.