To many Del Norters, spotting a gray whale is as common as another sunset.
Michael Leib of Grants Pass saw his first gray whale Monday in Crescent City. Del Norte Triplicate/Adam Spencer
But to the untrained eye, whale watching can be tricky, requiring advice from an experienced whale watcher. Volunteers from Whale Watching Spoken Here will provide tips at Brother Jonathan Vista Point, at the top of 9th Street, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day through Saturday.
Whale watchers saw seven gray whales on Monday, with 61 people stopping by, hoping to catch a glimpse. Volunteers Alan Justice and Eva Marie Klaas handed out several “I saw my first gray whale!” stickers to those that who had their first sightings.
“I had an 84-year-old man cry one time” after seeing a whale for the first time in his life, Klaas said.
Michael and Marshan Leib traveled to Crescent City from Grants Pass to go whale watching for their third time, but this trip was their first successful venture.
More than 18,000 whales migrate twice a year between Alaska’s Bering Sea and the warm waters off the coast of Mexico, a 12,000-mile trek. Right now, between mid-December and mid-January, most gray whales are heading southward to mate — although hundreds of whales are year-long Northern California and Oregon Coast residents, Justice said.
Grays grow up to 45 feet long and weigh 70,000 pounds. Volunteers spotted 92 whales in Crescent City during this week last year.