The Greatest Migrators

Gray whales are one of the greatest migrators in the animal kingdom, swimming up to 12,000 miles annually from their Alaskan summer home to the warmer waters of the Mexican Pacific coast in the winter for breeding. The largest population of the animals is found in this North American range, however, there is an endangered population in the western North Pacific near Korea as well. Their rough looking appearance and docile behavior at the surface has earned these mammals the nickname ‘breathing rocks.’ In addition to the white and gray patches covering their dark skin, giving them their name, they are also covered with barnacles and whale lice.

These baleen whales have a unique feeding technique; instead of filtering water at the surface, they turn on their sides and scoop up sediment from the sea floor to feed on benthic crustaceans. They are similar in size to the humpback whale but are easy to distinguish due to their lack of a dorsal fin, mottled coloration, and quiet surface behavior. Commonly sighted from boats, they are a favorite among whale watchers. Want to go diving with gray whales? Explore the dive site map below for all the best spots they have been sighted.