Whale Watching on the Cheap

Migration off to sad start with dead whale found in San Francisco Bay

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    NEWSLETTERS

    John Herman and Minette Layne
    Keep an eye out for flukes and spray, as gray whales will be streaming past the Golden Gate in the weeks ahead.

    Grab yourself a piece of beach from Santa Cruz to Eureka in the coming weeks and you won't just improve your tan, you'll probably spot a whale or two or three off the coast.

    That's thanks to the annual migration of pods of gray whales, including newborns, swimming the length of North America's Pacific coast to the Arctic as they have done for thousands of years.

    Adult female grays have been busy calving and getting their new babies fattened up for the trek all winter before heading to the summer feeding grounds in the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean.

    The migration got off to a bit of a sad start, with a dead juvenile whale found in San Francisco Bay last week. It's still unclear what caused the death.

    Global climate change is also threatening the whales' habitat, as they have to go farther and farther north through the Bering Strait in order to find the rich amphipods, plankton and krill to slurp up through their baleens.

    So catch them while you still can.

    Jackson West cursed himself for being indoors when friends spotted a pod offshore during a barbecue in Pacifica.

    And while we are on the subject of whales, here is a video clip from NBC Bay Area's Rob Mayeda about a little known fact concerning -- well -- whale poop.