|Scanning the horizon.|
The grey-haired gentleman to my left, who is scanning the southern sector suddenly stops, breaths in a bit and bellows, "Arise!!! Leviathan of the Deep!!!"
Suddenly, there is much more activity.
"136! Do you see it?!"
A pause as everyone focuses their eyes. Suddenly, I see what they are looking for.
|Gray whales spouting.|
A shiny, deep gray form breaks the surface of the water, moving north. A whale!!! Then I see the plume. I can hear it breathing in! Powerful!
Whales. A pod of four gray whales breaking the surface of the water to breathe before they go back down for about 4-5 minutes. Beautiful creatures!
|Cetacean comparison chart.|
|ACS Gray Whale Census Volunteers. I was told the patches on the chairs are designed by volunteers and represent each season in which the volunteer participated.|
|This season's whale counts have been big. There have even been orcas spotted in the harbor this year.|
This morning the group consisted of local residents Jean, Bob, Steve, Nancy, and Stephanie. Bob tells me that the group has been doing this for around 30 years. They are unpaid, dedicated, and work in all kinds of weather. (Read the Wall Street Journal article -if you subscribe - about these dedicated people.)
|Volunteers keep an eye on the gray whale pod they spotted traveling north.|
The group tracked a pod of grays as they moved north up the coast. Several species migrate along the Pacific coast, but the ACS, based in San Pedro, Calif., tracks the Eastern Pacific gray whales because they frequently use the California coast and Channel Island corridor as their route.
The whale spotters track numbers, species, behavior, and the number of calves they see. They only see a handful of a great number of migrating whales, but their data is indicative of the overall health of the migrating species. This year there has been a record number of southbound gray whale sightings.
|Stephanie, a veteran whale counter, uses a telescope to track a gray whale pod. She recorded the number of whales, times they surfaced, and if they "fluked" - showed their tails before diving under.|
|Kids line the railing next to the Pt. Vicente Interpretive Center.|
Resources and Sites:
Blue Whale Census and Behavior Project at http://acsonline.org/conservation/gray-whale-census-and-behavior-project/
The ACS Los Angeles Chapter at http://www.acs-la.org/resources.htm
Slide show of whale watchers in the WSJ images about the whale watchers
Follow the ACS on Twitter @CetaceanSociety
They're also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AmericanCetaceanSociety