California, USA - Whale Watch

The University of California Research Expeditions Program (UREP) is looking for adventurous types to help UC researchers in a study of gray whales of the Pacific Northwest. No special experience is necessary and costs are tax-deductible. Team members will study whale distribution and behavior in summer feeding grounds off the picturesque shores of Northern Vancouver Island and their impact on the marine crustacean populations on which they feed. The team will camp on the shores of Brahman Island and do fieldwork aboard a converted fishing boat. For details on these and other research expeditions open to public participation, please visit our Web site at:
The University of California Research Expeditions Program

Commercial whale watching dates from the winter day in 1955 when Chuch Chamberlin offered trips to see gray whales as they passed southern California on migration. The cost was 1$ US. Pioneer whale- watching naturalist Raymond M. Gilmore soon took over the trips which became something of a legend in California.They were whale watching at its best - part science, part education, full of unpredictable whale action and lots of fun. They were popular over three decades into the mid-1980s. Gilmore witnessed the growth of intense public interest in the whales and the birth and growing pains of a substantial industry that began modestly, but by late 1970s spread quickly up and down the west coast of North America along the entire length of the gray whale migration. From there it expanded to include other whale species in California and to whales in the North Atlantic and around the world.

The gray-whale-watching season in California varies along the coast during winter and spring as the grays migrate south to the mating and calving lagoons of México, then return north to feed mainly off Alaska. In addition, during summer, blue, humpback and other whales can be seen. In 1991, there were more than 50 companies or non-profit societies operating whale-watching tours from some 20 ports all along the California coast. The impact of whale watching thus is spread out along the entire 840-mile coast.

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