Gorda Springs Resort 

Big Sur, California

killer whales - 

Year-round

Also called Orcas, killer whales frequent the coast because there is a colony of elephant seals nearby and Big Sur is near more prey: whales, otters, and sea lions. A killer whale is an apex predator - a hunter never hunted.

 

They can swim 50 miles per hour. Males can be 22 feet long and weigh 12,000 pounds. Female killer whales are the only species on the planet - other than humans - to go through menopause, living for decades after they are able to breed.

 

There are an estimated 50,000 killer whales worldwide, half in Alaskan waters.

 

Killer whales live and hunt in packs, called pods. They're clever, too. A killer whale at Marineland attracted birds to fish it chewed up and spit out. Then it ate the birds. Four other killer whales watched and did the same. 

Blue whales

June through october

This is a blue whale with her calf. During the first six-seven months of its life, the calf will drink 100 gallons of milk per day from its mother.

 

Blue whales are the largest animals to ever exist. Males reach 100 feet in length - longer than two full-size school buses - and weigh 190 tons, like 20 African elephants. The heart of a blue whale weighs 1,300 pounds.

 

Blue whales can reach speeds of 31 miles per hour, but typically swim at around 12 miles per hour and slow to three when they're feeding.

 

Blue whales eat up to four tons of krill per day. Krill look like tiny shrimp, only an inch long, but there are so many in the world their mass is double that of humans.

 

There are about 8,000 blue whales worldwide. They can live to 80 years old.

whale watching - year around

Gray Whales

December through may

Gray whales have two blow holes, making them easier to spot. There are about 20,000 that travel from Baja, Mexico to Alaska every year.

 

Gray whales eat crustaceans (crabs, lobster, shrimp, and prawns) by swimming to the ocean floor, turning there bodies sideways, and scooping them up in mass like a giant bulldozer. Many older whales have lost or damaged right eyes...

 

The annual migration from Russia and Japan to the west coast of the United States is the longest known mammal migration, covering 12,000-14,000 miles. 

 

Males reach 50 feet in length and can weigh up to 50 tons, big, but half the size of a blue whale.

humpback whales

april through december

Fifty feet long with pectoral fins up to 16 feet long the humpback is a whale watchers delight, erupting from the deep and reaching as high as a four story building, twisting and flying through the air like a 40 ton Olympic gymnast.

 

Male humpbacks are famous for their "songs," air blown threw a nasal cavity. North Atlantic humpbacks sing one song; Pacific humpbacks sing a different song.

 

There are 80,000 humpback whales. They live up to 48 years.