Up to 15 whales a day are visiting San Diego's shoreline. NBC 7 reporter Elena Gomez talks to local whale watching businesses that are benefitting from the mammals visit.
The number of gray whales passing through San Diego waters in January broke records, according to experts.
Last year, whale experts saw an increase in the amount of whales migrating, but this year is proving to be even larger. Data shows that there are 15 more whales traveling per day than a decade ago.
This migration is a yearly event for these whales but this time around they are traveling in much larger numbers.
The gray whales are making their long migration from Alaska to their final destination in Baja, and San Diego is one of those stops along the way where we can see the whales up close.
The whales travel near the coastline so they can navigate where they are going – if the shore is on the left, they know they are heading south.
One whale expert says the number of whales seen in San Diego waters has increased by 30-percent this year. A couple of years ago people would typically see 1-3 whales, whereas now groups up 5-10 whales are being spotted.
Professional whale watchers said it could be because of more polar ice in Alaska forcing the whales to leave earlier on their migration toward warmer waters.
No matter the reason, whale watching groups say it’s been great for business.
“People will come in and say, ‘We gotta see the whales!’ makes it better for us,” said Russell Moore who owns charter company Xplore Offshore. “There are always dolphins but to have consistent whale trips we can count on seeing whales, guests have more fun.”