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San Diego Whale Watching: January 3, 2019

We found a very large pregnant California gray whale migrating south, just off Point Loma. At first, it was swimming due south, but then it made a turn to the east straight towards the SD Buoy. We noticed at this point that there was another whale, just 1.5 miles away. It looked like the two whales were on a converging path.

Southbound California Gray Whale

TAIL!

DIVE!

As we were sailing next to the pregnant female, Captain Troy noticed a large cargo ship headed straight towards San Diego. As the range decreased, Captain Troy determined that this ship was on a collision course with the pregnant female. Immediately, Captain Troy jumped to action and called the Star Louisiana on the radio. He informed the captain of the situation and the captain of the Star Louisiana responded. In San Diego, there is no requirement for a ship to alter its course or slow down. Any action is completely voluntary. Luckily for these whales, the captain of the Star Louisiana slowed his ship down to 6 knots.

This ship, Star Louisiana, slowed down to avoid a collision with California gray whales

Whale collisions are a serious problem worldwide. Many large ships hit whales and don’t even realize it until they dock and see a dead whale on their bow. It is a very sad reality. According to a study in San Francisco, it is estimated that we learn about less than 17% of the whale collisions. Ready more by clicking here. As ships get faster and more automated, it is important that we continue to advocate for the safe passage of migrating whales.

Whale collisions are a problem worldwide

Today’s case was a perfect example of teamwork out on the water. The captain of this large cargo ship had no idea that there were whales in the area. As soon as we notified the captain, he slowed down. No one wants to hurt a whale on purpose, especially a pregnant female.

As the Star Louisiana passed in front of our bow, we eagerly looked for both whales. The crew and passengers hoped that they did not get hurt. Suddenly, both whales surfaced for air and there was a huge cheer aboard the Yacht America. Hip hip hooray! Thank goodness. We sailed with the pair and thanked our lucky stars that these two could continue their migration south.

Let’s decrease the number of whale collisions! Teamwork and communication are key.

The whales made a turn towards the Coronado Islands. 

After sailing with the pair for a few more sets, we wished them luck and waved goodbye. Safe travels!

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