Sightings Every Day

Blue Whale Watching Season begins June 29

Purchase Tickets

2018 Summer Whale Watching Report

DateMorning CruiseNotes
07/20/181 Blue Whale, 1 Fin Whale, 1 Minke Whale, 50+ Common DolphinsThe seas were very calm today-perfect for whale watching! We saw three kinds of baleen whales: a Blue Whale, a Fin Whale, and a Minke Whale. We had a couple of distant views of the Fin and Minke whales. The Blue Whale was milling in one area and we were able to watch it for about 40 minutes. As we were watching this whale, a pod of about 50 Common Dolphins came into the area and fed all around the boat. Everyone had an amazing time!
07/16/18100+ Common DolphinsOvercast, but relatively calm sea state and little wind: good spotting conditions. Captain Michael spotted a pod of common dolphins and got them to ride the bow and surf the wake. Drifted to spot a blow along the 9-Mile Bank, then continued north along the escarpment into 4000-foot depth. Spotted another dolphin pod, but never sighted a blow.
07/15/182 Blue WhalesWe were fortunate to see one adult and one juvenile Blue Whale roughly seven miles off the shoreline and ten miles from the tip of Point Loma. Since there were no white caps in the ocean, the blows and profile of these impressive animals were clearly visible. Prior to the viewing and our time observing the Big Blues the sun came out, which made our viewing even better. This kind of clear sighting really demonstrated the huge size of the animals as well as the very small size of the dorsal fin.
07/14/181 Humpback Whale, 100+ Common DolphinsCaptain Chad took us 14 miles out in search of baleen whales. On our way out, we encountered more than 100 Common Dolphins, On our way back in, we saw an elusive, juvenile Humpback Whale. We had a quick look before it reappeared in the distance and gave a couple tail slaps. It seemed like the whale was feeding as it popped up farther away from the boat.
07/13/18200+ Common Dolphins, 1 Mola molaA gorgeous day on the water. We had guests from all around the world including from Russia, Hong Kong and India. Baleen whales eluded us today, but guests enjoyed watching a nice pod of approximately 200 common dolphins and got a good look at a Mola mola.
07/09/184 Blue Whales, 2 Fin Whales, 50+ Common Dolphins, 1 Pilot WhaleToday was a baleen whale extravaganza with a couple species of toothed whales mixed in. We initially sighted a single Blue Whale that fluked in the distance. We then spotted a pair of Blues up close. Everyone enjoyed good views for quite awhile. We also saw a pair of Fin Whales. And then another spout in the distance which we headed for and got a good close up view of a tail fluke. We also spotted about 50 Common Dolphins and a Pilot Whale on return trip.
07/08/185 Blue Whales, 250+ Common Dolphins, 30+ Bottlenose Dolphins, Mola mola, flying fishGreat day with very close-up views of Blue Whales. We saw 5 Blue Whales total, including a calf/cow pair and a juvenile. Two of the whales came very close to the boat and swam directly in front of the bow delighting passengers with great views of the whales' blowholes, pectoral fins, and even tail flukes. We also saw a pod of 250 common dolphins and about 30 offshore Bottlenose Dolphins. Some lucky passengers even saw a Mola mola and a flying fish.
07/08/181 Gray WhaleOur Harbor Tour became a Whale Watching tour! On the last cruise of the day, everyone was able to see the baby Gray Whale at the point spout three times. A few of the guests requested whale stickers at the end, which we gladly gave them.
07/07/185 Blue Whales, 200+ Common DolphinsA hot day on shore made for perfect whale watching conditions. We spotted 5 Blue Whales including a mother-calf pair. At one point the boat was surrounded by whales! Everyone enjoyed fantastic views of the whales. Along with the whales, we spotted a herd of about 200 Common Dolphins.
07/06/189 Blue Whales, 10 Pacific White-sided Dolphins, 100+ Common Dolphins, Yellowfin TunaWhat a great day to start our second week of whale watching. Beautiful weather, calm seas and 300 of our closest friends. We had friends form Kansas, Michigan and Germany.
We saw a total of 9 Blue Whales, a small pod of Pacific White-sided Dolphins, and three large pods of Common Dolphins. We also saw a school of Yellowfin Tuna.
07/02/183 Blue Whales, 100+ Common Dolphins, 1 Mola molaA beautiful sunny day with calm seas! We saw 3 really large Blue Whales. One of the blues, dove down showing its massive tail flukes. It was very exciting! We also spotted a Mola mola/ ocean sunfish and lots of frolicking Common Dolphins.
07/1/186 Blue Whales, 1 Fin Whale, 200+ Common DolphinsAnother day of spectacular whale sightings today! We spotted 6 Blue Whales, a Fin Whale, along with 200 Common Dolphins mixed in. We were privileged to witness a Cow/Calf pair of Blue Whales, rarely ever seen. One demonstrated a lunge and another a Blue Whale breach!
06/30/185 Blue Whales, 1 Fin Whale, 1,000 Common DolphinsThe Adventure Hornblower left the harbor under some clouds, which burned off later during our trip. We had fantastic group of people on board, the majority were from San Diego’s travel industry, hotels, restaurants, etc. Mixed in were travelers who were visiting San Diego to see whales and explore the ocean off San Diego. We had Capt. Earnesto at the wheel (his enthusiasm at seeing whales is always contagious). We started off toward the deep water and saw a megpod of dolphins, there were 500 common dolphins that you could see in every direction. As we moved on we next spotted a blue whale, there is nothing as breath taking and magical as a blue whale gliding through the water. The boat was cheering as our Captain was describing the beautiful blue whale to our guests. Captain Earnesto named the first whale we saw after his youngest daughter. When he was leaving his house in the morning he said his youngest had told him we would find whales today, and we did, so he named the first whale we saw after her. The first blue whale was showed its flukes when it dove which is always a great photo op. As that whale swam off, we started to see blows in different places around the boat. The second whale we went to visit was another beauty of a blue whale that hung out near us for a bit. When it moved off we found another whale that seemed to be not quite as long as the previous two whales. Not only was this whale not quite as long but it only showed its blow holes at first. After a few passes, and a noisy motor boat leaving, the whale came to the surface and blew and curved to go down and we saw a fin that was definitely not a blue. We had the amazing luck of seeing the top two biggest mammals in the world, the blue whale and the fin whale. This trip let us have quite an experience. We saw a total of 5 blue whales 1 fin whale, 1000 common dolphins, we saw a second pod of 500 dolphins later in our trip, and a sea lion as we came past the bait docks returning to home, the end of our trip for today. Quite spectacular if I do say so! 14 years of whale watching and with the San Diego Natural History Museum and Hornblower and it was one of the best days on the water!
06/29/183 Blue Whales, 50+ Common Dolphins, Mola mola, harbor seal, California sea lionsWhat an awesome first day of summer whale watching! We spotted 3 Blue Whales including a probable cow-calf pair. Everyone enjoyed nice, close looks at the whales. During the cruise, we also found several small groups of Common Dolphins along with a Mola mola/ ocean sunfish, a Harbor Seal and a few California Sea Lions.

Watching Blue Whales with Hornblower Cruises in San Diego

A Blue Whale’s tiny dorsal fin

In the past few weeks, Blue Whales have been regularly spotted of the coast of San Diego. Soon, Hornblower Cruises & Events will offer Whale Watching cruises that head out to sea in search of Blues and other baleen whales. Our summer whale watching cruises begin June 29 and run from Fridays to Mondays through the end of summer.

Why are Blue Whales so exciting to watch? These giants are the largest animals on Earth, reaching lengths of 100 feet (about 2/3 of the length of the Adventure Hornblower) and weighing up to 150 tons (slightly less than the weight of the average American house). The Blue Whale’s blow/spout can be 30 feet tall, letting our captains and naturalists spot them from far away. When a Blue Whale surfaces, you typically see the spout first, then the head, then the bluish-gray body, then the tiny dorsal fin, and finally, if you are lucky, the tail flukes lifted above the surface.

What brings Blues to local waters? In summer, the nutrient-rich,coastal waters of Southern California often provide tons and tons of krill. And the abundance of shrimp-like krill, are magnets for hungry whales in search of food. Like Gray Whales and other baleen whales, the Blue Whale has brush-like baleen in its mouth that it uses to strain krill and other tiny clustered prey out from the water. An adult blue whale can consume up to 4 tons of krill per day!

Join us this summer for a chance to see the magnificent Blue Whales (Summer Whale Watching Cruises) and visit us online at our Blue Whale Page to learn more about these and other ocean animals.