Sightings Every Day

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

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2017 Whale Watching Report

DateMorning CruiseNotes
07/17/2017300+ 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. 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.

07/16/20171 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.

07/15/2017500+ 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.

07/14/20172,000+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.

07/10/20171 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.

07/09/2017350+ 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!

07/08/2017200+ 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.

07/07/20171,000+ 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.

07/03/20171 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.

07/02/20176 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.

07/01/201710 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.

06/30/20177 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!

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Dolphin stampede!

dolphin stampedeWhile the large baleen whales are often the highlight of whale watching cruises, their smaller cousins, dolphins, often steal the show. On most whale watching cruises, we encounter groups of 50 or more common dolphins. These playful and energetic dolphins often ride the bow and wake of the boat. Occasionally, we see a stampede of common dolphins porpoising at high speed in the same direction. Porpoising is a much more efficient and faster way for  dolphins to travel since the animals experience much less drag (resistance) in air than water. Why do dolphins stampede? They may be traveling towards a large ball of schooling fishes to feed. Often, the cause is a mystery. Whatever the cause, a dolphin stampede is always a thrilling experience!

Humpback Whales Protect Other Species From Orcas!

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Scientists have discovered that humpback whales occasionally act in an altruistic manner — actively protecting not just their calves, but also seals, sea lions, other whales, and even a mola mola (ocean sunfish) from predatory attacks by orcas. What’s behind this altruistic behavior? Click on the link below to find out about a recently published scientific paper that summarizes more than 100 documented instances (many witnessed during commercial whale watching trips) of this fascinating behavior.