There’s at least one advantage Malibu has over other cities during these unprecedented times of social-distancing—whale watching. Cetacean sightings have been reported and posted on social media by many local residents this week. These sightings are seen as a hopeful sign for many during the first dreary, rain-soaked week of work from home and isolation in what could be the future for the weeks and even months ahead during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Whale sightings have been reported from Santa Monica to Malibu Road—by this reporter—but are especially likely to be seen, as usual, at Westward Beach. Though beach parking lots are closed, most locals should be able to get to the beach alone or with family while still safely distancing six feet from companions.
What you may see are gray whales now in the middle of the Southern California portion of their journey from Baja, Mexico, to Alaska where they’ll spend the summer months. Their 10,000-mile swim north has many of the mammals hugging the coastline for feeding and playing. It’s typical to find calves on their first northward journey straying from their mothers who might not be as close to shore as their babies. Blue whales, the largest animals inhabiting earth, are also migrating now through May. Their calves are typically 25 feet long and can weigh up to 6,000 pounds. The average weight of an adult blue whale is up to 300,000 pounds. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates more than 1,600 blue whales feed along the California coast. This population makes up the largest concentration of blue whales in the world. If you’re lucky enough to spot one, it may not be blue though—their skin if often mottled with light gray.