Right Whale Migration Season
A remarkable event takes place in the coastal waters of northeastern Florida. Each year from December through March, right whales migrate to this area to give birth and nurse their calves in warm, protected waters, before again returning north to feeding grounds off New England and Canada. South of approximately St. Augustine, Florida, some right whales come in close to shore sometimes within a quarter mile of the beach. Mothers can be seen with young-of-the-year calves, and juvenile whales may be seen traveling or playing. Right whales, which can grow to 70 tons and 55 feet long.
It is in these waters that a volunteer-based citizen network is growing and contributing to science, conservation, and stewardship of the species and its habitat. The Marineland Right Whale Project works along the coastline from the St. Augustine to Ponce Inlets a distance of about 50 nautical miles. The project began in 2001, and now includes about 200 volunteers.They get the thrill of about 75 whale sightings between December and March each year.
Scientists estimate that there are only 490 right whales in existence, but thanks to a decade's work of volunteer whale watchers, that number is on the rise.
For more information on becoming a volunteer or anyone wanting to know how to spot right whales, please see the list of events for all things right whales!
Oceanside accommodations are available for those that want to be sure not to miss this wonderful experience!