FACTS The grey whale can grow to a length of 16 metres (52 ft) and a weight of 40 tons - and it can live for up to 70 years.
INTIMATE 3 One tourist gets up close PAT TRICK n Having a stroke GISSA ZKISS Whale gets smacker on the head TOUCHING 3MOMENTS Giants love getting close BLOWN ZAWAY Huge grey whale comes into view
feed on the seafloor at depths of up to 50 metres, and rely heavily on the shallow regions in Alaska's Bering Sea for food.
Just two years ago, Megill and crew couldn't eat dinner around the firepit without being interrupted by the sound of 20-ton grey whales surfacing for air between mouthfuls of zooplankton.
Too bad for Megill, who chose the sparkling green and gray waters spread out before us more than a decade ago as his northern base of operations--due in large part to the abundance of grey whales fattening up for their fall migration down to their breeding grounds off Mexico's Baja peninsula.
OIL and gas expansion projects are set to cause an ``environmental catastrophe'', with the possible extinction of the grey whale,campaigners claimed.
Campaigners stage a mock whale funeral with a 20ft skeleton of a grey whale in London yesterday Picture: EDMOND TERAKOPIAN
There are thought to be between 15,000 and 18,000 grey whales
in the eastern Pacific.