Gray whale numbers increase in Alaska's waters


Recent scientific reports show that more gray whales were spotted this summer off the coast of Alaska than in any other year. The previous record for a full season from July through October was 18 calves, but in July 2012 alone, researchers counted more than 50 calves, according to the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. That's good news for travelers who may have whale watching on their Alaska must-see list. While the prime time to view gray whales is in the spring, there are plenty of opportunities to see whales all year round in Alaska, on whale watching boat tours or simply strolling along the coastline. The Southeast community of Sitka celebrates the marine giants with Whalefest, held this year from November 1–4. The event, hosted by the Sitka Sound Science Center, offers visitors a chance to learn about local marine wildlife through a number of presentations and discussions. The weekend also includes a community celebration with music, art and whale watching trips with some of the nation's best marine mammal scientists serving as guides. For more information on Whalefest, visit To plan a trip to Sitka, go to


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