While the holiday season may be winding down, the gray whale watching season is just starting to ramp up.
On Wednesday, the Cabrillo Whalewatch program officially kicked off the gray whale watching season by running a training trip for its volunteers aboard Redondo Beach's Voyager.
Those volunteers, once trained, will help narrate whale watching expeditions that run from local ports such as Long Beach and Redondo Beach's King Harbor.
The gray whales regularly pass through Southern California waters on their annual migration to the waters off Baja California starting at the end of December. The giant whales can be seen just offshore until April, according to Cabrillo Whalewatch.
Since last December, gray whale sightings from Point Vicente have risen compared the 2010-2011 season, according to Cabrillo Whalewatch's Bernardo Alps.
Observers at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center in Rancho Palos Verdes have reported seeing 114 whales since they started their count on December 1. Two whales were spotted moving south on Christmas Day.
For those wishing to see the whales from the water, the Voyager in Redondo Beach will begin gray whale excursions starting on Thursday at 10 a.m. Tours on the Voyager then depart daily at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. through April.
Further south in Long Beach, Harbor Breeze Charters offers two hour gray whale and dolphin cruises from Rainbow Harbor that depart at noon and 3 p.m. daily.