California beach goers encountering abnormal number of grey whales

Anthony Canova

The Southern California coastline has a two-mile stretch of beach which has been renamed to “Whale Beach” by the operator of a whale-watching business who’s reporting an unusually abundant number of amount of gray whale mothers and calves stopping to rest and play in the local area’s tranquil coves.

Donna Kalez, general manager of Dana Wharf Whale Watching, says that during the past few weeks her captains have recorded more than 40 sightings of gray whale cow-calf pairs in the shallow coves of Laguna Beach.

That is well above average according to Kalez, but what makes this even more unusual is the high encounters with swimmers. Combining the unseasonably warm temperatures with more visitors to the beach, the whales are sighting just a few yards from the sandy shore. Visitors to the beach can’t help but swim out to the whales for a personal and rare experience, however it is not in the best interest of public safety.

Many swimmers have pursued the whales dawned in snorkeling gear and GoPro cameras, however not all the encounters are positive ones. Kalez’s captains have noted that some cases in which swimmers have spooked the mothers. Scaring whales or altering their emotions or behavior in any way is a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, punishable by fines and/or jail time. Its also dangerous for the swimmers to approach these powerful creatures.

Overall however, most of the encounters with the whales have been positive and popular with the swimmers.

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