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Blue Whale Watching Season is June 30 to Sept. 4th

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Whale Watching Report Summer 2017

Hornblower Cruises & Events San Diego Whale Watching

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2017 Summer Whale Watching Report

Date Morning Cruise Notes
08/14/2017 2 Bryde’s Whale, 500+ Common Dolphins,, 2 Mola molas/ Ocean Sunfish Today we rounded out a fin-tastic weekend of baleen whale sightings with a Bryde’s whale cow-calf pair. Bryde’s whales are large baleen whales that are distinguished by the three ridges on top of their head (other baleen whales only have one median ridge). Guests also had fun watching a group of 500+ Common Dolphins during our Whale Watch cruise.
08/13/2017 2 Minke Whales, 1 Fin Whale, 200+ Common Dolphins We lucked out today and spotted not just one, but three baleen whales! We began with several great views of a Minke Whale. Next was a gigantic Fin Whale with an extremely loud blow/spout, which made it very easy to spot when it surfaced. Our third whale was another Minke. We also enjoyed a herd of more than 200 Common Dolphins to round out a beautiful, action-packed day on the water.
08/12/2017 200+ Common Dolphins It was a great day to dolphin watch! Guests enjoyed multiple sightings of more than 200 playful common dolphins.
08/11/2017 1 Blue Whale The Blues are back in local waters! Today we found a very large Blue Whale, traveling slowly. We were able to stay with this magnificent whale for 45 minutes, giving everyone several nice, close looks.
08/07/2017 N/A Whale Watch cruise cancelled.
08/06/2017 150+ Common Dolphins, 3 California Sea Lions, Hammerhead Shark Another wildlife-filled day on the ocean. Although the big baleen whales eluded us today, we did come across a large area with lots activity- with Common Dolphins, California sea lions, and diving seabirds working the bait ball and hunting for fish. Several of the dolphins also rode the bow wave of the Adventure, which is always so much fun! A nice bonus was spotting a hammerhead shark and tracking its dorsal fin as it swam from the bow to the stern of the boat.
08/05/2017 1,100 Common Dolphins What an action-packed, dolphin-filled morning! Early in the trip we came across a spectacular megapod of Common Dolphins. The dolphins were spread out over an area of about a half square mile. The dolphins and seabirds were actively feeding on a large school of baitfish. Captain Richard let the boat drift so that we could get a 360-degree view of the dolphins. We also spotted another group of Common Dolphins on our way into the Bay.
08/04/2017 3 Minke Whales, 300+ Common Dolphins An awesome day of Whale Watching today with sightings of 3 Minke Whales. These small, sleek baleen whales grow to 26-33 feet long and have distinctive bands on their flippers called “Minke mittens”. Although Minke whales tend to be shy, one of the whales remained close to the boat, giving several great views. We also enjoyed seeing several large groups of Common Dolphins throughout the day. What a fantastic time on the water!
07/31/2017 300+ Common Dolphins, 10 Bottlenose Dolphins, 3 Mola mola A gorgeous day on the water. All guests enjoyed watching hundreds of Common Dolphins, offshore bottlenose and diving seabirds working a bait ball. We also spotted several Mola molas or ocean sunfish.
07/30/2017 1000+ Common Dolphins, 1 Mola mola It was a Dolphin Day! Over a thousand Common Dolphins came to interact with the boat over the course of the cruise. Dolphins were leaping high and tail slapping. Just as we were returning to the dock, we enjoyed a clear sighting of a fascinating Mola mola (ocean sunfish).
07/29/2017 N/A No Whale Watching Cruise today.
07/24/2017 500+ Common Dolphins, 60+ Risso’s Dolphins, 100+ Common Bottlenose Dolphins It was a dolphin day today with dolphins seen throughout our cruise. As soon as we headed out into the ocean, we came across a large herd of playful Common Dolphins. Then when we traveled out to 9-mile Bank, we spotted two dolphin species traveling together; Offshore Bottlenose Dolphins and rarely-encountered Risso’s Dolphins. The bottlenose dolphins and a few of the Risso’s were breaching clear out of the water, some close to the boat giving us a great show. Many cow-calf pairings were seen in the dolphin groups today. Although we didn’t encounter any baleen whales, its always amazing to see three dolphin species in one day!
07/23/2017 1 Humpback Whale, 50+ Common Dolphin, 12 Common Bottlenose Dolphins Our trip today started with seeing a beautiful pod of common dolphins followed by a rare sighting of 12 Bottlenose dolphins who were leisurely swimming and stayed fairly close to our boat for quite some time. We cruised out about 9 miles off Point Loma and spotted a Humpback Whale. We spent about 45 minutes watching this energetic whale whale as it breached, tail slapped, and pec-slapped. Unfortunately, Captain Chad noticed that the whale was semi-entangled and began the process to notify the local whale-entanglement group. The crew was supposed to respond in the afternoon if they could locate the whale again. Overall, a great day on the water!
07/22/2017 N/A No whale watch cruise today.
07/21/2017 750+ Common dolphins Beautiful sunny day out on the water. We encountered 2 mega pods of Common Dolphins. Approximately 750 dolphins were in a feeding frenzy, frequently leaping out of the water. We got to witness two sets of Navy Seal dolphins in the harbor out for some exercise, including a couple of flips out of the water.
07/17/2017 300+ Common Dolphins We searched for whales with calm seas and blue skies. Although baleen whales eluded us, guests enjoyed watching thousands of playful Common Dolphins including many riding the bow wave of the Adventure Hornblower. A big thank you to Captain Jules who maneuvered the Adventure Hornblower to fish some floating birthday balloons out of the water. Sea turtles and other ocean animals can mistake balloons and other plastic debris for jellyfish prey, so removing these from the ocean is a huge help to sea life. Many of the docents noticed the waters in some places seemed to be roiling and swirling with small fishes and krill. Since blue whales and many other baleen whales eat krill, hopefully they will travel into the San Diego waters to feed.
07/16/2017 1 Blue Whale, 1,000+ Common Dolphins We headed 12 miles out from Point Loma and first found a megapod of Common Dolphins, which are always a joy to watch. Finally, just as we were ready to head back to port, we spotted a couple blows of a a juvenile Blue Whale directly in front of us. The whale dove remaining below the surface for more than 15 minutes. Unable to stay with this long-winded whale, we headed back in to port.
07/15/2017 500+ Common Dolphins, 5 Common Bottlenose Dolphins Lots of sea life out in the Pacific today. Although we didn’t see any baleen whales, we did find a small group of Bottlenose Dolphins in the mouth of the Bay and then out at sea, a large herd of playful Common Dolphins, along with California Sea Lions, a couple Mola molas (ocean sunfish) and a variety of seabirds.
07/14/2017 2,000+Common Dolphins Another calm day with clear skies. We headed about 10 miles off shore and while the big whales were absent, we did find a megapod of Common Dolphins with the herd extending as far as we could see.
07/10/2017 1 fin Whale, 500+ Common Dolphins We set off with calm seas and overcast skies that soon cleared to the sun. As soon as we headed offshore, we came across a pod of about 200 Common Dolphins, and more pods as we cruised further out. Several times the dolphins surrounded the Adventure Hornblower, giving us a great show. About 10 miles offshore, Captain Richard spotted a tall spout. It was a Fin Whale, a huge baleen whale second only in size to the Blue Whale. We were able to get glimpses of the whale’s dorsal fin and back. Unlike many blue whales, fin whales rarely fluke. After several looks at the fin whale, we headed back into the Bay.
07/09/2017 350+ Common Dolphins, 150+ Bottlenose Dolphins What an awesome dolphin day! We first encountered an energetic group of Common Dolphins. Then, near 9-mile Bank, we spotted a large pod of offshore bottlenose dolphins including many mothers with their calves. We watched the dolphins while we were looking for elusive blue whales. On our way back into San Diego Bay, we ran into a huge herd of Common Dolphins, which showed off with lots of tail slapping and tummy flop moves as they were stunning fish to eat!
07/08/2017 200+ Common Dolphins, 40+ Bottlenose Dolphins Calm seas made perfect viewing conditions for two species of dolphins – Common Dolphins and Bottlenose Dolphins. We spotted many nursery sub-pods of dolphins, with mothers and calves traveling closely together.
07/07/2017 1,000+ common dolphins Gorgeous conditions today! While blue whales eluded us, we enjoyed watching a megapod of more than 1,000 common dolphins. The Dolphins were porpoising and feeding on a large school of fish while several species of seabirds dove and fed on the same bait ball.
07/03/2017 1 Blue Whale, 500+ Common Dolphins What a magnificent day for whale spotting! The sea was flat: no waves & no wind. Adventure Hornblower searched out to almost 10 miles offshore. Hundreds and hundreds of dolphins, mainly in large pods that were attracted to our yacht’s bow wave and stern wakes, throughout the trip. Caught up with 1 northbound Blue Whale to follow for a series of blows, before she dove and we never saw again. Spotted 2 different large whales blowing in the distance, but couldn’t confirm whether they were Blues or Fin Whales.
07/02/2017 6 Blue Whales, 2 Fin Whales, 30 Common Dolphins, 20 Pacific White-sided Dolphins It was a baleen whale bonanza today with sightings of 6 Blue Whales and 2 Fin Whales! We enjoyed several close looks at the whales including three blues that raised their flukes up out of the water. Seeing both blue whales and fin whales together made it easy to distinguish between the two species. We also had fun watching a small group of Common Dolphins and a group of Pacific White-sided Dolphins.
07/01/2017 10 Blue Whales, 500+ Common Dolphins Another gorgeous whale-filled day! We spotted a total of 10 Blue Whales on today’s cruise including two whales that showed us their flukes, which can span 30 feet from tip to tip. One whale even hung just below the surface for about 30 minutes giving us up-close looks and a sense of its immense size! To top off this incredible day, we also enjoyed the antics of a large herd of Common Dolphins hanging out near the boat. Several were leaping high out of the water, making it look like they were trying to fly.
06/30/2017 7 Blue Whales, 200+Common Dolphins, 100+ Bottlenose Dolphins, 1 Mola mola Opening day was a grand slam! We began with a huge herd of porpoising Common Dolphins. Shortly after, blows were spotted in the distance. As Captain Jules navigated closer, we spotted even more blows. Soon the boat seemed to be surrounded by Blue Whales, some even displaying their lovely flukes! Everyone on board had a good look at the largest mammal on Earth. Often you could hear the whales exhaling. Then, a pod of 100 Bottlenose Dolphins approached and swam near the bow of the boat. Some of the Dolphins leaped entirely out of the water. Delightful! Then on the way back, we spotted a Mola mola and four more Blue Whales all together. What a terrific way to start the season!