About ten miles south of Carmel, Dave Weller and Lisa Ballance sit looking intently out at the ocean. There’s not a cloud in sight.
They’re in a small trailer parked on the edge of a cliff at a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) lab. Both hold binoculars up to their eyes amd call out the coordinates of where they spot a gray whale.
Since 1967, this count has happened every other year. While the eastern pacific gray whale is no longer an endangered species, keeping track of its population level is required under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.