First mother and calf gray whale spotted near Point Dume

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First mother and calf pair of gray whales spotted near Point Dume this year last weekend. Photo by Alison Mytych

Slow Year for Whale Sightings Due to Inclement Weather

By Jimy Tallal and Hayley Mattson 

The first mother and calf pair of gray whales have been spotted near Point Dume this year, a promising development for whale watchers. However, it has been a slow year for whale sightings overall, with significantly fewer whales seen migrating through the nearshore path.

Inclement weather, including rough seas, high winds, fog, heavy marine layer days, and rainy weather, has affected the number of whales observed.

The next phase of the migration will bring cow/calf pairs, which generally hug the coast. Reports from Mexico indicate that calf production is up by 20 percent from last year’s counts, offering hope for better numbers passing Point Dume over the next four weeks. Last year’s low count of 33 is a stark contrast to the numbers seen in previous years, highlighting the importance of continued monitoring and conservation efforts for these magnificent creatures.