H-CENTRAL COAST

May 3, 2013 9:49 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News

California Gray Whales stop in San Luis Bay to feed

The whales are back in San Luis Bay. Local charter companies said Friday that they've seen California Gary Whales for the past two weeks.

"Okay she's at three o'clock behind the boat coming at us," said Captain Mark Kocina, the owner of Central Coast Sailing Charters.

The California Gray Whale is on its annual migration to Alaska.

"She just swam about 1,000 miles from the lagoons of Baja," said Captain Kocina.

San Luis Bay has been her home for the past week.

"When we see her surface and we see the mud streaming out of her mouth that is an indication that she was just feeding on the bottom," he said.

That mud is filled with nutrients: crustaceans, worms and other small organisms.

"If the tail does come up that is called a fluke and they are fluking when they show their tail and dive deep," said Captain Kocina.

The Central Coast is only a pit stop for this whale; she has roughly 2,000 miles left on her journey up north.

"So what's going to happen in Alaska as the days get longer, there is going to be an abundance of plankton," said Captain Kocina. "She's young." He knows this because of her size, which is about 25 feet long. He said, in Alaska she will double in size.

"This whale is very comfortable with us. We are not pursuing it, we are just drifting around," he said.

Captain Kocina, who has called the ocean his home for 30 years, said a sight like seeing a California Gray Whale breach is still a thrill.

Central Coast Sailing has three charters per day.

For more go to www.slosailing.com

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