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Whale Watching in California

Whale Watching in Monterey

Whale watching, which can be done for scientific or educational reasons, is often merely the RECREATIONAL observation of whales and other cetaceans in their natural habitat. Whale watching as an organized activity can be traced back to the declaration of the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego in 1950 as a public location for watching Gray Whales. The photo above shows the Magnum Force (not an endorsement) leaving Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey.

In 1955, the first commercial water-based whale-watching activity began in the same area in San Diego. In the next 10 years, commercial whale watching spread over the West Coast. In the 1970’s, commercial whale watching spread to Montreal, Canada and to New England. In the 1980’s and 1990’s whale watching spread rapidly throughout the world. A 1998 study showed that there was whale watching in 87 countries, with 9 million participants, and an income to whale-watching companies and supporting infrastructure (restaurants, shops, etc.) of over $1 billion (USD) at that time.

In California, good whale watching can be found in spring, summer, and fall at the Farallon Islands and in Monterey Bay (as well as many other locations). The whales off California’s shores are humpbacks, grays, and blue whales (which are believed to be the largest animal that has ever lived).

The Wikipedia reference above discusses the current debate between the whale-watching industry and the whaling industry over whether whales are worth more dead or alive.

However, some of us enjoy simply catching glimpses of these magnificent animals as they migrate, quite close to California’s shores, at some beaches. There is nothing comparable to seeing a beach, full of people on their feet, watching whales breach a quarter of a mile offshore.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

You can view higher-resolution photos (*generally* 7-30 megabytes, compressed) at the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Pro Gallery on Shutterfly™, where you can also order prints and gifts decorated with the photos of your choice from the gallery. Apparel and other gifts decorated with some of our most popular photos can be ordered from the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Store on CafePress®. Both Shutterfly™ and CafePress® ship to most international locations worldwide!

 

 

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