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Board » Sailonline Race Committee » Races » GRAY WHALE MIGRATION RACE

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Post annotated by Incognito :
This thread was moved from the category General Discussion.
I grew up by the sea in England and remember vividly the time, when swimming in the bay as a youngster, that I encountered a wild porpoise. Some years later I vacationed a few times in Israel and often swam with the dolphins in Elat. The sense of a dolphin's immense strength and power when swimming alongside it is very humbling - we humans are such fragile creatures by comparison!

Later still I vacationed in San Diego and on a whale-watching day trip I spotted my first "live" gray whale (as opposed to those on natural history TV shows/documentaries). I cannot describe the awe I felt when I first saw a mom and baby gray whale near the boat - the mother stuck her head up to "eye" the boat, kept herself between her baby and us, but stayed with us for about 10 mintues before heading away.

While we won't actually see whales in our SOL race, perhaps some of you will make the time to check out the information readily available on the internet about these remarkable creatures.

Gray whales make a 10,000-12,000 miles round trip every year between their winter calving lagoons off Mexico and their summer feeding grounds in the cold Arctic seas. This is one of nature's most extraordinary journeys and the longest known migration of any mammal.

Our SOL start point is at Isla Magdalena, the southernmost nursery of the grey whale and consequently the fewest number of births occur here (at its peak only an estimated 250-500 gray whales are here).

I hope you enjoy the race and I will add in occasional snippets of information as the SOL fleet reaches the various way points!!

Thank you SOL Race Committee for helping my basic race design become a SOL reality!!


--- Last Edited by RainbowChaser at 2013-10-26 10:09:55 ---
Thank you RC! I share your appreciation of sea mammals :) and your initiative really makes the race become more alive in my imagination!
Thank´s RG, amazing stuff.

All we have seen in our east Swedish archipelago is seals swimming along side our boat. But that´s fantastic to see too.

Best chance to see seals here is to turn around and look backwards, then you can see them pop up to see what just passed them on the surface. :)
SOL's Facebook Group

--- Last Edited by RainbowChaser at 2013-10-26 10:06:10 ---
If you want to whale-watch up close and personal, it would seem from the articles linked here that Baja California Sur is the place to go.

One World Travel

contains such phrases as

"Just like college students on spring break they come here for food, fun and games. Others loll about in the warm, protected lagoons of Guerrero Negro, Scammon and San Ignacio. In the spring, the whales trek back north."


"Waterspouts erupt all around us. Whales are everywhere, circling other boats, vying for attention"




"The best place on earth to get close enough to touch these friendly, curious animals in their own environment"

Please take time to read some of these articles, why not share them with your kids!

--- Last Edited by RainbowChaser at 2010-03-13 18:17:35 ---
"why not share them with your kids! "

He, he, my kids are 22 and 28... :)

--- Last Edited by PerErik Horn at 2010-03-13 22:04:25 ---
Right now the SOL fleet is averaging maybe 12kts or so... for those who are wishing we were sailing downwind, spare a thought for the momma whales and their babies who are at best swimming at 5kts. The momma whales are constantly swimming as their babies have yet to acquire enough blubber to float by themselves - to cope with this, scientists now believe that whales switch off half of their brain for sleep, while the other half maintains the body swimming etc.

The SOL fleet is already passing Mendocino point and indicative of the fabulous sight offered by as many as 28,000 gray whales that are due to pass this area a few days behind us, the Redwood Coast of Mendocino County will be holding a jazz festival between 1-18 April. Throughout the County wineries will set up tasting stations along the highways, lodging places offer special whale-watching deals, and the entire area benefits from the immense interest generated by tourists wanting to whale-watch.

Cape Mendocino itself has had a working lighthouse on it since 1868 and it is considered to be the westernmost point of California while at Point Arena there is a totally refurbished lighthouse where for a small fee, tourists can get a panoramic overview of the Pacific and the migrating whales - definitely one of the best places to whale-watch on-shore.

--- Last Edited by RainbowChaser at 2010-03-18 19:42:59 ---
Hello Sailors,
You could see whales in Souther Tenerife, The Canary Islands.

"Tenerife is the second whale-watching destination in the entire world when it comes to the number of whale-watching hopefuls that descend upon the island each year. Focused in the waters between Tenerife and its neighboring island La Gomera, there are 25 species of the world's 78 sea mammals living and playing in the Atlantic surf."

VIDEO Pilot Whale

--- Last Edited by RainbowChaser at 2013-10-26 10:07:07 ---
Nearly all of the Eastern Pacific Gray Whale population pass by here on their journey north. Many grays remain around until the time comes to migrate south again. The first returning adult males can arrive in mid to late March. Mother-calf pairs normally return in mid-May and keep coming into July.

Most northbound whales (except for the early ones) migrate through narrow Unimak Pass in June. This narrow sea passage is in the NE Aleutian Islands. From here they are just a few weeks away from their arctic feeding grounds!
Alas, global warming also has its effect on the gray whales' migrational habits. Studies indicate they may well be looking for other feeding grounds.

Bering Climate

The importance of the Bering Strait on global weather is described in a paper published at UCAR:

Bering Strait

Enjoy the read.


--- Last Edited by RainbowChaser at 2013-10-26 10:08:11 ---

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