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Whale Watching

Whale watching is a popular activity in the marine sanctuaries on Point Reyes' bays and ocean points.e. Gray whales, the endangered humpback and blue whales, minke, and killer whales all may be seen within its waters.

Gray Whale Migration

The Point Reyes Headlands and Lighthouse areas are excellent places to watch the gray whale migration from mid-January through mid-March each year. Late April and early May afford the opportunity to see mothers and calves close to shore. Point Reyes is rich in marine wildlife. A dozen species of marine mammals are regularly seen at Point Reyes. The California Gray Whale may be seen migrating south from prominent coastal points, such as Point Reyes, between November and February. In March, the northward migration from Baja California's lagoons begins. Whales can be spotted from the cliff tops or by participating in organized boat tours. It is possible that you could also see finback whales, blue whales, pilot whales, dolphins, seals, and sea elephants.

The California Gray Whale travels the longest distance on migration of any mammal. This species is the only whale whose year-round habits and whereabouts are well known.

After feeding during the summer and fall, the entire gray whale population heads south. Early December is the beginning of the southward migration in the Pacific Northwest. Along the Oregon coast, the migration usually reaches a peak during the first week of January at a rate of 30 animals per hour. By mid-February, most of the whales have left Northern California waters.

This and more information can be found at these web sites:

  • Hatfield Marine Science Center of Oregon State University.
  • Whale Times Web Site
  • Marin Parks Site
  • More Point Reyes Secrets


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