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San Diego Whale Watching Season Starts December 13th

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Monthly Archives: December 2013

Video of Gray Whale Breaching

This exciting video shows a gray whale breaching 3 times off San Diego coast during San Diego Whale Watching trip on Christmas eve 12/24/2013. The video was taken by  9-year veteran naturalist, Laurie Hinckley, trained by the San Diego Natural History Museum. The gray whale breached 3 times and was captured beautifully on this youtube video. Whale Watching season in San Diego is going on now through April.  From Wikipedia: Breaching or Whale surfacing behaviour is often unique among marine mammals and marine life in general. Various behaviours such as breaching, porpoising, lobtailing, and others are heavily documented in both scientific literature on cetaceans and in the popular imagination. A breach or a lunge is a leap out of the water also known as cresting. The distinction between the two is fairly arbitrary: cetacean researcher Hal Whitehead chooses to define a breach as any leap in which at least 40% of the animal’s body clears the water, and a lunge as a leap with less than 40% clearance.Qualitatively, a breach is a genuine jump with an intent to clear the water, whereas a lunge is the result of a fast upward-sloping swim, perhaps as a result of feeding, that has caused the whale to clear the surface of the water unintentionally.


San Diego Whale Watching Report Day 4: Whale Sighted Off Point Loma

Day four of the San Diego Whale Watching season brought us gray whales off of Point Loma.

On the AM Cruise: We had cloudy, windy weather this morning. Unfortunately, no whales were sighted, but we had a nice showing of several pods of common dolphins and about 40 Pacific White-Sided dolphins.
During the PM Cruise: The skies cleared and we had a beautiful sunny afternoon. Captain Rich found a gray whale not far from the tip of Point Loma. There was lots of diving by this whale, which provided excellent opportunities for guests to get great whale tail photos.

San Diego Whale Watching Report Day 3: Dolphins & Whales were Everywhere!

Day three of the San Diego Whale Watching season what spectacular as usual.  In the morning we saw 6 gray whales, 300 dolphins.  In the afternoon, we saw 500 dolphins, 3 gray whales, and one of the nuclear submarines. There also were great cloud formations and the ocean turned out to be very flat and calm. We found the 3 gray whales up off La Jolla and followed them back down the coat.

There were also many Sea Lions scattered throughout the trip as we cruised through the North Harbor and out to sea.

In addition, we had the nicest people, many of whom were from Europe, Japan, Colorado, Illinois and the East Coast!!  All in all, it was a very pleasant day for everyone with some great sightings of marine life.

(Photos courtesy of the Nat Whalers).

San Diego Whale Watching Report Day 2: Pregnant Whale Sighted!


Day two of the San Diego Whale Watching season brought a special treat for all adventurers – a pregnant whale!  On the AM tour, we saw some amazing whale sights.  It was a beautiful day – felt like summer and we could see the whales from a mile away.  Some highlights from the morning tour included 1 pregnant female gray whale going south, 25 Rissos with a sea lion following them, and 50 common dolphins riding bow wave.  The captain said it is very rare to see Risso’s this close to land this early in the season.

On the PM tour, we continued to have good luck spotting the whale, including 2 gray whales going south (1 pregnant female, one maybe three years old) and 4 bottlenose dolphins in the bay riding bow.

Risso’s Dolphins (Grampus griseus) are commonly called Grampus because of their species name, Grampus griseus. They reach lengths of at least 4 meters (15 feet) with newborns reported to measure 1.5 meters. Risso’s dolphins are thought to eat squid and occasionally fish. Risso’s dolphins have several distinguishing characteristics, which make them fairly easy to identify. They have a large curved dorsal fin that is far back and is generally darker than the rest of the body. Adults appear light gray to nearly white in coloration mostly due to the scarring patterns from the dolphins raking their teeth across each other. Their snout has no pronounced beak and there is a unique v-shaped indentation on the forehead.