The same Arctic ice that has been harassing Coast Guard craft and other ships north of Alaska has three endangered California gray whales trapped in an ever-shrinking breathing hole, officials said today.
“It doesn’t look good for them,” said whale biologist Geoff Carroll. “They apparently stayed over too long in the Beaufort Sea before beginning their long migration south and got stuck.”
The California gray whales, which spend summers in northern waters around Alaska and go south to Mexico for the winter, are near Plover Point, just offshore from Point Barrow, the northernmost tip of land in the United States.
Carroll said the biggest of the three is 40 feet long and the other two are slightly smaller. The whales are in an opening about 15 feet by 30 feet, Carroll said.
But the opening is shrinking in subzero cold that Barrow has had for the last week, with temperatures dipping to 13 below zero Wednesday and today. Barrow has set five records for cold this week.