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Upwelling

During February and March each year, offshore winds create a phenomena called upwelling. Upwelling is a vertical motion ( as compared to currents which are mostly horizontal ) and draws deep waters up to the surface, bringing nutrient rich food from the depths of the sea canyons – nutrients that would have otherwise been too deep for whales, dolphins, seals and fish to access. The phytoplankton and algae ( minute sea dwelling organisms ) increase in number during this seasonal upwelling as they are expose to more light closer to the water’s surface. As these cooler waters are brought up towards the surface, they combine with the gyration of the ocean currents to create a feeding ground that ocean mammals will travel thousands of miles to enjoy.

The grey whales traveling down from Alaska with pregnant females stop here for the upwelling nutrients in February and March for an enriching diet before heading further south for their calving ( the birthing of the baby whales) in the lagoons along Baja California.

Sea Otters, over a hundred years ago, were so prevalent in the Channel and surrounding islands due to the nutrient rich waters that massive scale hunting expeditions were funded by companies from around the world to collect tens of thousands of pelts every year until they had nearly decimated the sea otter population.