A rare close-up of playful gray whales near Oxnard thrills passengers
Passengers on a whale-watching excursion off the coast of Oxnard in Ventura County this week got an up-close-and-personal look at a pair of gray whales.
The onlookers were aboard the Sunfish, a boat with Channel Islands Expeditions, when a pair of gray whales approached the vessel Monday morning.
“They were very curious and played with us for over 45 minutes, splashing the boat and checking out passengers up close,” said Bryson Smith, general manager of Channel Islands Expeditions.
Videos shared with The Times show the whales splashing near the edge of the boat.
Passengers on a whale-watching excursion Monday morning near Oxnard got an up-close-and-personal look at a pair of Gray whales.
The whales were migrating north to Alaska from Baja California, Mexico, according to Smith. The encounter happened in the Santa Barbara Channel, a few miles offshore from Oxnard.
While gray whales are used to approaching whale-watching boats in the Sea of Cortez, the behavior is rare for the channel.
“It seems like some of the migrating whales have been interested in approaching the boat like this, this season,” Smith said. “It’s hard to say if this is once in a lifetime, or simply a new behavior pattern that we will see more often.”
The passengers were “blown away” by the experience, and some of people on the boat even got sprayed by the whales.
“Non-stop smiles, laughter and amazement were on deck the whole day,” Smith said.
The stories shaping California
Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.