Sightings Every Day

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

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Captain’s Bios

Captain Chad Cummings

Captain Chad has been working for Hornblower Cruises & Events for nearly 20 years since 1998. Prior to that Captain Chad was in the Navy for 4 years. He loves whale watching, and you can hear it in his narration on the whale watching cruise and with the way he handles the customers who are experiencing whale watching for the first time! Captain Chad was the original catalyst for Hornblower starting a summer whale watching program in 2014. Before 2014, Hornblower only offered gray whale watching in the winter. Captain Chad works on weekends leading our gray and blue whale watching cruises. He has a degree in Astrophysics with a minor in Mathematics as well as a Masters Degree in System of System Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Captain Eric Gustafson

Captain Eric Gustafson’s boating experience includes Small Sail and Power Vessels, Sailing Instructor, Coastal Cruising and Sailboat Racing. His licensed experience consists of Coast Guard Licensed Master of Sail and Power vessels since 1980 and is currently licensed as Master 1600 Tons of Power Vessels upon Oceans and Master 500 Tons Auxiliary Sail Vessels upon Oceans. He has experience with Harbor Tours, Whale Watching, Dinner Cruises, Charters, Coastal Charters, three seasons of Whale Watching with Invader Cruises, twenty seasons Whale Watching with Hornblower Cruises as well as management of Vessel Operations and Vessel Maintenance. Captain Eric has also earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology, Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Master of Arts in Environmental Geography.


Captain Julie Peet

Captain Jules is a more recent addition to the Whale Watching team here at Hornblower Cruises and Events. She came to Hornblower in the Fall of 2014, and is thrilled to be part of our team. Born and raised in San Diego, she has enjoyed surfing and fishing all along the California coast her whole life. She started her career in boating at 19, working as a deckhand on sport-fishing boats, and worked her way up to being a Captain. She is well experienced at finding life offshore and never gets tired of being out on the open ocean. Everything from spotting flying fish to sea turtles to rare birds is always a thrill and she looks forward to sharing those experiences with you.

Captain Bob Lewis

Captain Bob is one of Hornblower Cruises and Events newest Captains. Bob is a San Diego native that has a love for the ocean. He began his career at 18 years old working on Offshore Supply Vessels and became a United States Coast Guard Licensed Captain two years later. He is experienced in operating and managing vessels as large as 400 feet as well as small passenger vessels all around the world. He is currently studying for an Unlimited Masters License. His local knowledge of San Diego and it’s diverse marine life can be heard in his narration as well as his enthusiasm when he spots a whale. Captain Bob looks forward to sharing an amazing whale watching cruise with you and hopes your experience will be memorable.


In Memorandum: Captain Richard Goben

Hornblower Cruises & Events regretfully announces the passing of Captain Richard Goben, in February of 2016. We will miss this veteran captain who helped shape the personality of the company for more than two decades.

Captain Richard Goben is Hornblower Cruises & Events Port Captain and a veteran Whale Watching expert for more than 25 years!  Captain Rich taught sailing while attending the University of California, San Diego. During this time, he received his first Coast Guard license. He ran classic sail and power passenger vessels for over 30 years.  Also during his college days, Captain Rich became a writer for magazines, such as Sail, Sea, and other marine related publications.  In the 1980s, he became involved in the America’s Cup sailboat races, and was a Navigator for Dennis Conners’ “B” team during the 1983 Cup races.

In 1984, Captain Rich began crewing on the 1863 Barque Star of India for the San Diego Maritime Museum. In 1996, he served as Mate, then in 1998, became Master. The Star is the oldest active sailing ship in the world, and the only Class “A” sailing vessel known to not have an engine. Captain Rich is still Master of the ship. Richard also operates the Maritime Museum’s 1904 Steam Yacht, Medea.

Captain Rich has been operating Passenger vessels since 1978, including Whale Watching vessels.  He holds a Master’s license for power, steam and sail vessels of 1600 tons (Inland Mate) and 500 tons, (Ocean Master).  He completed the Naturalist class at the San Diego Natural History Museum, and serves as a volunteer on the Raptor Rehabilitation team for Project Wildlife.

Captain Rich serves on the San Diego Harbor Safety Committee, and on the Executive Steering Committee of the Area Maritime Security Committee. He also serves on the Safety and Security Committee for the Passenger Vessel Association of the United States. He is an instructor in CPR/AED and First Aid for the American Red Cross.

In 1998, he received the “Outstanding Leadership” award from the Naval Order of the United States. Each year, Captain Rich heads a volunteer program to have Hornblower narrators serve on Family cruises on US Navy ships. He has done this on over 50 Naval vessels.  Other awards include the 2000 “Hospitality Employee of the Year” award from HSMA San Diego, and the 2001 “Creative Innovation in Sailing Programming” Award from US Sailing. In 2002, Richard was awarded the first Annual “Roger Murphy National Safety Award” from the Passenger Vessel Association.  In October 2013, he was recently named Maritime Person of the Year by the International Propeller Club.

Video Interview with Rich Goben