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San Diego Whale Watching Season Off to a Great Start

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San Diego 2015 Blue Whale Watching Season

Hornblower Cruises & Events San Diego Whale Watching
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Date Sightings  Notes
7/26/15 1 Blue Whale, 1 Humpback, 1 Fin Whale, 100 Dolphins Passengers from the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Mexico and the East coast were treated to a rare sight today: a Humpback Whale who wanted to show off.  He stayed right beside the boat and continuously lifted and slapped his tail on the water.  Twice, he raised his tail out of the water, head down, and slapped the water three times in succession.  The top of his pectoral fins were pure white so he could easily be seen as he laid just below the surface.  Passengers were also treated to a Fin Whale and a Blue Whale, who dove under the bow of the boat, sending chills down everyone’s spine.  Two small pods of dolphins totaling around 100 topped off the trip, making it one no one will forget.
7/25/15 1 Blue Whale, 1 Humpback, 200 Common Dolphins 2 miles off Point Loma for one Humback and one Blue Whale.  Watched Humback for 30 Min then went to watch Blue for 30 min, played with 200+ Common Dolphins, then went back to the Humpback.  Great show with several close passes by the humpback whale.  Great show, lots of sunshine and flat seas.
7/24/15 1 Blue Whale, 200 Dolphins
7/23/15 6 Blue Whales, 1 Fin Whale, 1 Minke Whale, 100 Common Dolphin Hello! We had an incredible day out on the open ocean today! 6 Blue Whales, 1 Fin Whale, 1 Minke Whale and 100 Common Dolphins.  Very happy passengers & whalers!
7/22/15 2 Blue Whales, 1 Fin Whale, 300 Common Dolphins We followed a mom and baby Blue Whale for quite some time and there were many good looks.  We also saw a Fin Whale and 300 Common Dolphins.
7/21/15 5 Blue Whales, 300 Common Dolphins After a slow and cloudy start we spotted and followed 5 Blue Whales, including a mother and a calf.  We saw over 300 Common Dolphins in two separate pods.  We had guests fron the United Kingdom on board today.
7/19/15 5 Blue Whales, 300 Common Dolphins Beautiful day on the ocean! Calm seas, sunny sky, warm and humid. Saw a total of 8 Blue Whales today, 6 of which appeared to be circling around in the same vicinity. We were surrounded by Blue Whales on all sides of the boat! A couple of times the whales surfaced close to the boat surprising the passengers! On the way back in we saw two more Blue Whales as well as a pod of about 600 + Common Dolphins.
7/18/15 3 Blue Whales Initially saw the whales, however due to the lightning, we had to go out 9 miles to go around the rain squall.  Was able to make it back in to the original three whales to watch them before we got hit by the bigger squall.  Guests were pleased as the show was still good.
7/17/15 8 Blue Whales, Common Dolphins Lots of out of town visitors on today’s trip led by Captain Nick to find the mysterious Blue Whales…..mysterious because there is just so much we don’t know about them…but, one thing we do know for sure is that they are HERE and are giving passengers some spectacular photo opportunities.  Today’s trip took us about 4-6 miles out past Pt. Loma in a northwesterly direction and we were able to find 8 Blue Whales along with some energetic common dolphins and their babies just having a great time bow-riding. Passengers from England, Brazil, Isreal, Arizona, Utah, Ohio, Michigan, North Dakota, New Jersey, Las Vegas and San Francisco enjoyed calm seas and sunny skies.  Lots of children on board today, so of course we did some origami whales…even some adults joined in.
7/16/15 7 Blue Whales, 400 Common Dolphins Beautiful day on the water with limitless views.  Steady sightings of Blue Whales at 5-7 miles offshore.  We saw 7 Blues up close with a Mom/Calf pair very close to the boat.  At end of cruise, we had a very large Blue skim very close to surface for about 10 minutes, ending with a giant tail fluke. Also 400+ Common Dolphins with many babies dancing around the boat to the delight of the passengers.  Couldn’t get much better sightings or conditions.  Had guests from UK, South Carolina and Texas as well as a honeymooning couple from Switzerland.  This couple actually got married in Las Vegas!
7/15/15 3 Blue Whales, 200 Cormorants, 200 Common Dolphins Another super day of whale watching!  As we were going out the bay into the ocean, several flocks of 200+ Cormorants crossed in front of the boat.  Our first Blue Whale encounter came off the coast near La Jolla.  We could hear the whale breathing before we saw it at the surface, then followed it as it snorkeled near the surface.  Continuing to search for more whales, the boat encountered over 200 Common Dolphins – jumping, diving and frolicking near the boat.  What a sight!  Then we saw a second Blue Whale, and a mother – juvenile pair.  The mother appeared to be teaching the juvenile how to dive down deep for food.  Our last glimpse was of a huge tail fluke!  Passengers on board came from as far as Australia, Switzerland, and all across the United States.
7/14/15 10 Blue Whales
7/13/15 3 Blue Whales, 500 Common Dolphins It was a beautiful, calm day on the Pacific Ocean with good visibility.  About two miles off Point Loma we found our first Blue, shortly afterwards we spotted another one.  They were both swimming south.  As we followed them along a third Blue appeared.  All three were very shy and maintained a wide berth of Adventure.  We also found a pod of about 500 Common Dolphin, many of whom came over to play in our bow and stern wake
7/12/15 1 Blue Whale, 1200 Common Dolphins We estimate the number of Common Dolphins that we saw on today’s cruise to be around 1200.  There were essentially three pods of dolphins exhibiting primarily feeding behavior.  Many dolphins in a row going though waves in unison without a great deal of jumping – head down and feeding.  There were exceptions to this of course since dolphins like the wake of the boat and occasionally seem to just want to play and jump which some did. We found one confirmed Blue Whale at roughly  five miles off the coast from Ocean Beach.  Captain Eric stayed with the whale for a majority of the cruise and due to low waves and clouds above the visibility was excellent to observe the long profile of the animal with the recognizable small dorsal fin and a few exceptional fluke displays before deep dives. A second (not confirmed) Blue Whale was in the distance with blows consistent with Blue Whales but due to distances we cannot definitively confirm the species.
7/11/15 3 Blue Whale, 1 Fin Whale, 1 Minke Whale, 1000 Common Dolphins Great day. We saw 3 Blue Whales – 2 adults and 1 sub-adult; 1 sub-adult Fin Whale; and 1 Minke Whale was spotted on the way in. The sub-adult Fin Whale circled the boat and came very close. We had very good views of it. The sub-adult Blue was more shy, but still was close enough for good views as well. The adults kept their distance. We also saw about 1000 Common Dolphins throughout the day with many young ones in the group. The day started completely overcast but cleared to bright and sunny by 11:30 a.m. The sea was very calm. A very enjoyable day.
7/10/15 4 Blue Whales, 1 Minke Whale, Common Dolphins Today was a beautiful day on the ocean with calm seas, sunshine and light wind. Many visitors to San Diego for the Comicon Convention who decided to treat themselves to whale watching on the Hornblower. Today’s sightings included a solitary Minke Whale about 4 miles out. Then the boat was surrounded by a megapod of Common Dolphins on our way out to deeper water. We encountered our first Blue Whale about 7 miles out and then a rare treat – a Blue Whale mother and calf pair. These whales stayed in the general vicinity and at one point the single Blue Whale surprised us by surfacing right beside our boat providing an up close and personal experience! We also spotted an additional Blue Whale slightly further north. On the return trip we again encountered a large pod of Common Dolphins. We also saw sea lions frolicking in the ocean and sunning themselves on buoys and the bait dock. A great day was had by all!!
7/9/15 2 Blue Whales We started out with cloudy skies and a bit of wind, 3-4 miles off the coast we finally saw a pair of blows, it was a cow and calf!.  We followed them for about an hour and were rewarded with several very close encounters with the Mom and baby.  The baby had a distinctive hook to his fin and was very different than the mom’s.  We came back into the harbor to beautiful sunshine and visited the bait docks before coming in to the dock.
7/8/15 3 Blue Whales, 1 Fin Whale Today was a beautiful day for whale watching.  There were people from as far away as Denmark on the ship.  Partly cloudy sky, moderate swells and 10 mile visibility made for a very nice day for spotting whales.  Captain Nick took us out to around 10 miles off shore where we alternated looking at three different Blue Whales in the area.  We saw big spouts, backs and dorsal fins several times and one off them gave us some great fluke shots when it dove deeper a couple of times..  As we reluctantly turned back for the harbor, someone spotted a couple of breeches in the distance luckily in the direction of the port.  Based on photographs by several photographers on board, it was probably a young Fin Whale.  All the guests said they had a wonderful time on the trip.
7/7/15 2 Blue Whales, 1 Mola Mola,  400 Common Dolphins Though overcast, visibility was great today. Guests from as far away as Germany got to see two Blue Whales.  The stars of the show, however, were definitely the Common Dolphins.  We saw a terrific pod of over 400 extremely active dolphins, including several calves, exhibiting so many dolphin behaviors….they “caught air,” tail-slapped, twisted and turned….really looking like they took their energy drinks plus this morning!  In addition to the cetaceans, a Mola Mola was spotted.  Definitely a nice morning on the water!!  Enclosing a few photos; the whale wasn’t very close; the dolphins, another story!
7/6/15 1 Blue Whale, 1 Mola Mola, 300 Common Dolphins Saw one Blue Whale in the am, a Mola Mola, and 300 Common Dolphins. Nice trip with great looks at the whale and great conditions/weather.
7/5/15 2 Blue Whales, 1 Mola Mola, 800 Common Dolphins A great day to be out on the ocean, including good visibility, calm waters and mostly overcast skies.  A small group of enthusiastic passengers had incredible views of 800 Common Dolphin and a 300 pound Mola Mola!  Two Blue Whales were seen, one of which came very close to the stern of the boat.  Close views of the blowholes and the muscles of the back were highlights.  Several other blows were seen in the distance.  Once again, a fabulous day with cetaceans off the coast of San Diego!
7/4/15 1 Blue Whale, 5 Fin Whales, 500 Common Dolphins Received a good show from one Blue Whale, 8 miles off of Point Loma.  Decided to venture off and found 5 Fin Whales in a pod giving a great show.  Also came across 500 Common Dolphins and 15 Pacific White Sided Dolphins.
7/3/15 3 Blue Whales, Common Dolphins People from all over the US came to San Diego for the 3 day weekend and chose Blue Whale watching for their Friday morning.  They were not disappointed!  We saw a nice pod of Common Dolphins swimming all around the boat which is always very exciting.  After traveling a little further north, we saw two Blue Whales.  One was a special whale – it showed its fluke each time it went down for a deeper dive.  On the way back to the dock the sun broke through and we had a great view of the summer ocean at its best.
7/2/15 5 Blue Whales, 100+ Common Dolphins We had an overcast start to the cruise with a very flat ocean.  We encountered 100 + Common Dolphins that played and stayed with us for about 10 minutes to the delight of everyone.  We saw several Blue Whales and with lots of blow and fluking.  Two came very close to the boat and we saw their full bodies several times before they each fluked and took a deep dive. We counted 5 Blues altogether including a mom and calf pair.  There were folks from Japan, England, Arizona, North Dakota, Illinois and France.  We came back into the harbor with lots of clear, blue sky!
7/1/15 5 Blue Whales For a day that started out overcast, the whale watching was superb!  We encountered the first Blue Whale about 4 miles out, first seeing its blow.  Then, the whale fluked before diving under!  Following it a while, visitors from the local area, PA, MN, UT, and AZ got many photo ops.  Later we encountered 3 or 4 more Blue Whales and even 1 calf.  One whale was very near the boat, so we had an excellent view of its dorsal fin, markings, and blow holes.  We could appreciate its size and got a good view of its tail fluke!  There were some swells, but mostly calm waters.  The trip ended with sunny skies – an excellent day on the water.
6/30/15 4 Blue Whales, 1 Mola Mola, Bottlenose Dolphins A single large Blue about 8 miles out.  When we got to it, there was a mother and calf, and then another single.  Total 3 adults, one calf.  Near the end, the calf appeared close under our bow and after crossing, turned to look at us again.  When he sounded, I was not sure where he would come up again, so I asked guests to look over the side to make sure the calf was clear.  Sure enough, he came up on our bow again.  I had been stopped the entire time. Saw 12 Bottlenose Dolphins at buoy 5, and a Mola Mola on the way to the whales.
6/29/15 1 Blue Whale, 300 Common Dolphins An excited group of whale watchers from across the U.S. including Virginia, Ohio, and Arizona set out this morning to find Blue Whales.  Captain Nick took to the area where Blues were seen yesterday, and sure enough there was one in the area.  This Blue was rather long winded and made several long dives but did surface relatively close the boat so we could hear the blow and see the blow hole.  We also saw a pod of about 300 Common Dolphin who came over to swim in our pressure wave.  Another beautiful day on the water.
6/28/15 2 Blue Whales Today was a great day to be out – swells about three feet with strong wind so some rocking on the boat. Captain Eric provided us with latitude and longitude for the two whales we saw and that info was recorded. First Blue Whale was a good sighting with blows and dives.  The second whale was a fast motivated whale, moving in a northerly direction. Prior to leaving this whale, we got a terrific fluke with the whale in front of the boat – to the delight of the guests on board.
6/27/15 2 Blue Whales Awesome opening day of Blue Whale season! It was a beautiful day on the ocean, the color contrast between the ocean and sky was gorgeous. Perfect San Diego weather. Passengers from Sweden, Denmark,England, Mexico, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Texas, Arizona and of course California, were delighted with the Blue Whale sightings. We also saw several sea lions lounging on buoys on our way out of the bay. It was amazing seeing the blue color of the whale just under the surface of the water right before it fluked right by the boat!

Pay Once & Cruise All Season

BLUE WHALE WATCHING PASS is a pay once, cruise all year free offer. This amazing experience has the same perks as the Gray Whale Adventures but you will be on the search for the massive legendary Blue Whale! (Blue Whale season in San Diego is from late June to mid September)


BLUE WHALE PASS MEMBERSHIP – A $150 one-time membership fee per year applies.


  • FREE admission on Harbor Cruise & Sea Lion Adventures and seasonal Blue Whale Watching Adventures for one year (offer is available once you pick a date to cruise)
  • 10 percent discount on San Diego cruises, including Nightly Dinner Cruises, Champagne Brunch Cruises and Sights & Sips Sunset Cruises*
  • Free “Celebration Package” for the month of your anniversary or birthday on any Brunch or Dinner Cruise (value of $69.35)

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