The Biggest Show on Earth: A Whale Watching Experience at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

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Sometimes called the Whale Capital of the West, scientists believe that Dana Point may possibly serve as a reference “landmark” for whales and is a famous gathering area, attracting not only marine mammals but marine biologists and whale lovers from around the world. In celebration of the California Gray and Blue whale’s annual journey, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel offers a year-round whale watching package. The Biggest Show on Earth: A Whale Watching Experience starts at $500 for garden/pool view accommodations. The package offers overnight accommodations and a two-hour whale watching excursion for two.

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Sometimes called the Whale Capital of the West, scientists believe that Dana Point may possibly serve as a reference “landmark” for whales and is a famous gathering area, attracting not only marine mammals but marine biologists and whale lovers from around the world. In celebration of the California Gray and Blue whale’s annual journey, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel offers a year-round whale watching package. The Biggest Show on Earth: A Whale Watching Experience starts at $500 for garden/pool view accommodations. The package offers overnight accommodations and a two-hour whale watching excursion for two.

From May through November, Blue Whales, the largest mammal ever to roam the earth, migrate to tropical waters to mate and give birth to their calves. The Blue whale migration takes these amazing creatures past Dana Point, where the whales can be easily seen and photographed. Blue whales are an overall blue-gray color and are long and streamlined. Their dorsal fins are extremely small, and their pectoral flippers are long and thin. Blue whales are rorqual whales, a family of baleen whales with pleated throat grooves that expand when the animal takes in water while feeding. Blue whales can be up to 100 feet long, weigh as much as 150 tons and have been found in every ocean of the world. They swim individually or in small groups, and they are commonly seen traveling in pairs. Approximately 2,000 blue whales live off the California Coast and migrate to Mexico, and Costa Rica. The historic population of Blue whales, prior to commercial hunting, has been estimated at 200,000. Today there are anywhere from 5,000 to 12,000 blue whales in the world. The Blue whale is listed as endangered.

From January through April, California Gray Whales leave the cold Arctic seas and follow the coastline to the calm, warm waters of Southern California and Baja. This migration brings much of the pod past Dana Point. The Gray Whale is essentially black, but has a grayish appearance caused by the accumulation of marine parasites on their skin. They measure 30 to 45 feet as adults and weigh about a ton a foot. Gray Whales do not have a dorsal fin like other whales; instead they have a series of "knuckles" along the after portion of the back. The whales travel up to 12,000 miles every year from their feeding grounds in the cold arctic waters to the warm, shallow lagoons of Baja California where they mate and bear their young. Twice hunted to near extinction, the Gray whale population has rebounded in the last 50 years to an estimated population of nearly 30,000 animals.

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel premiered as the first luxury resort along coastal Orange County in August 1984. Twenty-six years later, the resort is a re-imagined surfside retreat that awakens guests’ senses with its unique ocean-front setting and remarkable service heritage. The resort is the premiere destination for travelers who desire a playful approach to Southern California luxury. The resort has been the recipient of many awards over the years, but is proud to boast earning AAA Five Diamond status for the 26th year, the longest in California. The resort offers many extraordinary luxury experiences including Raya, 180blũ, The Market Place, Eno, Bar Raya, The Spa and Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment. For more information or reservations call 800-241-3333, the hotel directly at 949-240-2000, a travel professional or visit the web site at http://www.ritzcarlton.com/laguna.

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Deanne French
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