Types of Whales You Can See in California

Types of Whales You Can See in California

California offers plenty of opportunities for whale watching. There are several different types of whales and dolphins you can catch a glimpse of, nearly year-round.

There are three main species of whales that frequent the California Central Coast: Gray whales; Blue whales and Humpback whales. In this article, we will help you understand the difference between each.

Gray Whales

Gray whales are by far the most common whale species seen on California’s Central Coast. They pass through the area in large numbers each year, usually in the spring, as they migrate to and from their Arctic feeding grounds.

Gray whales are easy to identify, thanks to their distinctive coloring and barnacle-covered skin. They measure around 45 feet in length and weigh around 30 tons.

Gray whales are known for their friendly nature, and often approach boats closely. This makes them a popular subject for whale-watching tours.

Blue Whales

Blue whales are the largest animals on Earth, measuring up to 100 feet in length and weighing up to 200 tons. They are rarely seen on California’s Central Coast, but when they are, it’s an impressive sight.

Humpback Whales 

Humpback whales are another common sight on the Central Coast. They are smaller than blue whales, measuring around 40-50 feet in length, and weigh around 25-30 tons.

Humpback whales are known for their acrobatic behavior, which includes breaching (jumping out of the water) and tail slapping.

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