Gray Whale Babies Getting Schooled

The whales are back in Baja

Gray Whale Babies Getting SchooledImages by Keith Jones/Baja.com
Images by Keith Jones/Baja.com

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By Keith Jones Via Baja.com

December 20, I received word from my fishermen friends at Laguna Ojo de Liebre that there are now gray whales inside the lagoon.Gray whales are being sighted off shore of Southern California as they make their way south.We expect a great whale watching season.This year our first trip is January 26,Come join us for a vacation like no other.

Gray whale mom’s have a lot to teach their offspring before they head out into the open ocean on their northward journey.The first training we notice inside the lagoons is the strengthening exercises the baby is put through as the mother whale swims against the incoming or outgoing tidal flow.She forces the baby to swim alongside her as he gains strength and stamina.

Next as the baby seemingy plays upon his mother, we notice she will raise up out of the water, causing the baby whale to lay upon her back.This is more serious training, although to the youngster it is just playtime.Learning to stay high upon his mother’s back may be the one thing that saves him when a marauding orca pack attacks the mom and baby.His only place to hide, is upon his mother’s back.

As the season progresses into mid-February a one or two day phenomenon will usually take place. I have written other times about the “baby breaching school,” a time when mother whales seem to show their kid exactly how to jump.This training takes place at a time when most of the baby whales are strong enough to jump nearly clear of the water.This training is something rarely seen because it only occurs for a very brief time.

Another interesting training practice I see inside the lagoon generally takes place from mid-february on. This is when at one location near the bay entrance we see dozens of mother and baby whales surfing in the ocean break along the east shore of the entrance.The mothers actually swim with the baby against the breaking swells.This is serious physical conditioning and trains the young whale to swim and breathe in rough water conditions.I’m convinced those whales swimming in the surf will soon be leaving the lagoon to begin the long swim north.

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