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5 gray whales, in two groups, swimming in opposite directions, pass each other

Image: a pair of northbound gray whales near Santa Cruz Island


2024 01-18 SB Channel


Skies were blue with a thin marine haze. Seas were mostly quite calm. Sighting for the day consisted of 5 gray whales.


Captain Dave and the crew crossed the Channel without finding wildlife. But near Santa Cruz Island we encountered a trio of SOUTHbound gray whales. The 3 whales were all adults. The had 8 min down times and were great flukers. (For my readers that haven’t looked at a map or chart lately, a southbound whale travels east in the Channel, but its overall migration is to the south. Conversely, northbound whales move west).


About ½ mile away we watched a pair of whales moving NORTHbound. Before long, the two groups of whales passed each other while moving in opposite directions. This leads to questions. At this point in the gray whale migration, we expect most whales to be still moving south to their mating and calving grounds. Where our northbound whales heading back to the Arctic early? Or, as many gray whales do, were they taking a diversionary or circular path albeit temporarily?


You never know what Mother Nature has in store,


Bob Perry,


Condor Express and 

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Jan 24
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Valentine's Day is a traditional demarcation point for equal numbers of southbound and northbound Pacific Gray Whales. St Patrick's Day is close to the peak of northbound travelers as observed from Point Vicente by the ACS Gray Whale Census

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