Watch CBS News

Is It Just Me Or Are Whales Easier To Spot Of The California Coast This Year?

KPIX 5 Morning Weather Anchor Roberta Gonzales answers the questions you never get to ask on-air.

My friend and photo  Fototaker Tony really out did himself! A couple of days ago, he strolled to the Pacifica Pier and it was Christmas in July! Checkout the photo he sent me.

A whale spotted off the Pacifica Pier. (Fototaker)

While Tony tells me he was standing on the Pier and counted at least 5 whale sightings in 2 hours, he also mentioned these beautiful creatures were feeding at the surface!

Curiously, I wanted to check how often can we catch a glimpse of whales near the Pacifica coastline! The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, has put together a summary of whale patterns off the California Coastal waters, primarily off the Bay Area shoreline. Here is the migration patterns for whales.

Humpback Whale - Migrate May through November

Gray Whale, Killer Whale - Migrate Dec through May

Blue Whale - Migrate July through October

I am not a whale expert, but I do believe in Tony's photo, the creature is clearly a Blue Whale. I mean, I don't see any hump, and the whale color surely is not gray. Therefore, it MUST be a Blue Whale! But how rare is it for whale to swim so close to shore?

Whales, in general, are at risk in the waters where they live. This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials have asked San Francisco Bay Area boaters to watch out for and steer clear of whales, which migrate into the San Francisco Bay Area in large numbers during the spring and summer. Gray whales are at a particularly high risk of collisions with ships and boats, as they often travel near shore.

It is mid-July and it was just this past weekend that dozens of whales were spotted frolicking off the Marin County coast. The pod of whales prompted federal officials to issue a boating warning. The Marin Independent Journal reported 115 endangered whales during a one-hour survey near the Farallon Islands. Perhaps the hungry whale (snapped in Tony's pictures of off the Pacifica Pier), is one of these endangered whales and it happened to journey off to get a better look at beach goers in Pacifica!

During migration season (which is year round!), to ease the threat of vessels striking whales, federal officials say small boaters and large vessel operators should be on alert for endangered whales and maintain minimum distances. They also want large ships to slow to 10 knots in boat traffic lanes approaching San Francisco.

If you would like more information about whales or learn how to book a whale watching trip I found this link helpful:

Meanwhile, big shout and many thanks to my pal Tony for the pictures!

I would love to hear from you! Please send weather questions, observations and photos to me, and I look forward to hearing from you!

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.