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Huge Gray Whale Pod Sighting May Be Record

As many as 26 grays in one pod were spotted off local coast Sunday, which may be the record for the largest pod sighted.

What may be the largest gray whale pod seen locally in more than 30 years astonished even researchers who officially count the ocean giants, the American Cetacean Society reported late Sunday night.

"These whales actually turned out to be a super-megapod of at least 23 gray whales!! Photos coming soon," the researchers posted on Facebook shortly before 11 p.m. Sunday.

"I feel so blessed," said Patch contributor and waterfront blogger Phil Friedman. He was aboard the Harbor Breezes whale watching boat out of Long Beach that spotted the superpod after it passed the Point Vicente Interpretive Center in Rancho Palos Verdes where a team of researchers is counting the annual migration of gray whales south to the waters of Baja, California. Click here for early photos.

So many whales were blowing at the same time that it created "magical dancing water," Friedman said as he interviewed the charter boat Christopher's captain Captain Christian Batts.

Flagged by the whale researchers, the charter boat captain told Friedman he gunned the boat in a new direction. "In 30 years on the water, I've never seen a large pod of whales like that, especially gray whales."

Gray whale season officially began Dec. 26, 2012, and sightings off the Southern California coastline may be expected nearly daily through April.

Friedman wrote Sunday night:

"At least 21 and perhaps as many as 26 gray whales treated whale watching enthusiasts to an incredible show today out of Harbor Breeze Cruises in Long Beach (www.2seewhales.com). 

"Whale researcher Alisa Schulman-Janiger says that this is the largest pod of gray whales she has ever seen and may be the largest seen in three decades."

Friedman was on board along with Christopher Captain Christian Batts, Alisa Schulman-Janiger, and passengers who were on board this historic day in Southern California whale watching."

To read more by Friedman and an interview with Schulman-Janiger about the spectacular Sunday sighting, click here and listen to the interviews here.

The Beast ! January 24, 2013 at 02:51 AM
While along the Monterey / Carmel / Big Sur coast this weekend we seen hundreds of whales it was truely amazing ! The whales were BLOWING like crazy its a great sight. Everyone should take full advantage of these sightings and get down to the coast to see.
John Crandall January 24, 2013 at 03:02 AM
I'm jealous. I haven't seen whales in like 10 years.
Watts January 24, 2013 at 09:14 PM
Did anybody capture video of this? I have to believe that if all these people and official organizations are viewing this, that somebody has video somewhere. I checked YouTube and All that I can find is older video, with the most recent being from a week ago, but it is a distant clip of somebody catching just a brief spout. I would love to see real footage of this most recent group.

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