It’s Whale Watching Season at Half Moon Bay
Beginning in January through the end of March, thousands of gray whales travel over 5,000 miles along the California coast from their summer feeding grounds in Alaska down to Baja California in Mexico. During the summer, they live in the Arctic, rich with bottom-dwelling organisms. As fall approaches, there is less sunlight and food, so they need to head south. While in Baja, they mate and give birth to their young. From March through May, gray whale mothers and their calves travel back north again to Alaska.
Gray whales have one of the longest migrations of any mammal. When they get near the Bay Area, they often travel within a few miles of the coast and can be spotted from shore. There is no better place to enjoy this wonder of nature than Half Moon Bay.
Here is where to see gray whales from shore
If you want to see gray whales from shore, among the best sites are the cliffs near the lighthouses at Pigeon Point in Half Moon Bay, Point Reyes National Seashore and Montara. It is easiest to spot migrating whales on a calm day, when their spouts of water, which look like puffs of smoke, stand out from the waves. You can also look for their black backs, which rise up above the waves and then quickly disappear, as the whales move along.
Gray whales can reach up to 45 feet in length, and their newborn calves average 16 feet and weigh about 1,500 pounds. When you witness a mother whale swimming next to her calf, it can be a very exciting experience. The calves are weaned at about eight months, after they have journeyed with their mothers back to their northern feeding grounds.
Whale watching trips with the Oceanic Society
The Oceanic Society offers half-day gray whale watching trips from Half Moon Bay on weekends in January through April. The Society is dedicated to building a healthier future for the world’s oceans, and expert naturalists lead each trip. They are professional wildlife biologists and educators from institutions, such as the California Academy of Sciences and the Greater Farallones Association. In addition to sharing their knowledge about gray whales, the naturalists offer valuable information on other marine wildlife and seabirds.
Whale watching trips depart from Pillar Point Yacht Harbor in Half Moon Bay, leaving at 9:00 AM and returning at approximately 12:00 PM. The fee is $65 per person. In addition to gray whales, passengers may see California sea lions, harbor seals, harbor porpoises, and humpback whales. Pillar Point Yacht Harbor is just a 3-minute drive or 10-minute walk from the Inn at Mavericks.
Enjoy Half Moon Bay
While you are in Half Moon Bay to view gray whales, we invite you have lunch or dinner at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, overlooking Pillar Point Harbor. If you have more time, stay overnight at the Inn at Mavericks in one of our luxurious suites with unobstructed panoramic views of the harbor and ocean beyond.
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company is an award winning, ocean front brewery and restaurant, a favorite for locals, and a destination for world travelers to come together to celebrate beer, friends and fun.
Mavericks Event Center is situated on an oceanfront bluff in Half Moon Bay, the perfect waterfront space for your wedding, business meeting or event. Conveniently located to San Francisco and the South Bay, Peninsula area.
Inn at Mavericks is nestled on a small bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Half Moon Bay. Six spacious, luxuriously appointed ocean view suites.