Mother’s Day: A Great Time to Spot Gray Whale Mothers and Calves

For the past several months, thousands of gray whales have been traveling along the Pacific coast from their summer feeding grounds in Alaska to their winter breeding and calving grounds in Baja, Mexico – and then back again.

Although the peak of the northbound migration along the central coast of California was mid- to late-March, it’s not too late to see gray whales. In fact, mid-May is one of the best times.

That’s because right now, the gray whale mothers and calves are just passing places like Half Moon Bay, San Francisco, Point Reyes, and Bodega Head. Mothers and calves leave Mexico later than other whales and travel more slowly, so their migration schedule is about two months behind the schedule of most gray whales.

Plus, mothers and calves travel much closer to the shore to try to avoid the orca whales and great white sharks lurking in deeper waters. This makes for fantastic viewing opportunities – no need for binoculars, even! Park officials at Point Reyes National Seashore say Mother’s Day is known as an excellent day for seeing gray whale mothers and calves.

There is something incredibly special about seeing a gray whale mother and calf making their epic, 5000+ mile journey to Alaska. It’s what inspired me to write Little Gray’s Great Migration. So if the weather is good, head to the coast for a unique and fitting Mother’s Day activity!

 A pair of gray whales, mother and calf, passing Point Reyes Lighthouse on their northbound migration to Alaska. Photo by Louise Gregg.

A pair of gray whales, mother and calf, passing Point Reyes Lighthouse on their northbound migration to Alaska. Photo by Louise Gregg.