Sightings Every Day

Blue Whale Watching Season begins June 29

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2018 Summer Whale Watching Report

DateMorning CruiseNotes
08/12/181000+ Common Dolphins, 50+ Bottlenose DolphinsIt was a beautiful sunny day with relatively flat water. Despite the heat there were some cool breezes. Passengers were delighted to see a large pod of Common Dolphins. Later we saw a playful group of offshore Bottlenose Dolphins that jumped out of the water and did lots of tail slapping. The famous "Patches" with the leucistic (patchy) skin discoloration was mixed in with the group.
08/11/181 Fin Whale, 1200+ Common DolphinsWhat an awesome day! We enjoyed close sightings of a young Fin Whale along with several energetic pods of Common Dolphins.
08/10/18500+ Common DolphinsSuper Day on the water — calm seas and cooling breezes! What a good place to escape the heat on land. First we saw a San Diego based submarine heading out of the harbor, then several pods of Common Dolphins that played and cavorted near the Hornblower. What a sight! Adults and calves too. Unfortunately although we all scanned the horizon for blows, there were no whales to be spotted — just good memories of all the dolphins!
08/06/1830 Bottlenose Dolphins, 50+ Common DolphinsWe had a beautiful day on the water, but alas, the whales were not where we were. We did see 30 Bottlenose Dolphins and 50 Common Dolphins.
08/05/18600+ Common Dolphins, 1 Mola molaA beautiful,flat day on the ocean! Passengers onboard were from The Netherlands, Korea, France, India, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Florida. No blue whales were sighted close by, but we did see 2 to 3 blows from an unidentified whale in the distance. About 600 Common Dolphins played with the Adventure Hornblower. We also sighted a "breaching" Mola mola.
08/04/182,000+ Common Dolphins, 2 Mola molasCaptain Earnesto searched far and wide for baleen whales. We did not see any big whales, but we did spot thousands of playful Common Dolphins and a couple of Mola molas (ocean sunfish).
08/03/181 Blue Whale, 1 Fin Whale, 500+ Common Dolphins, 30 California Sea lionsWhat a lovely day on the water! 344 passengers, some from China, Germany, France, Canada, and all over the U.S. joined us for the cruise. Our first unusual encounter of marine mammals was a raft of about 30 sea lions, hanging out together. Next we encountered some very acrobatic Common Dolphins, then a Blue Whale that fluked several times along with a nearby Fin Whale that surfaced. On the way back, there were more Common Dolphins speedily swimming alongside the bow of the boat. What a fantastic time!
07/30/181 Blue Whale, 10 Risso's Dolphins, 300+ Common Dolphins, 20 Offshore Bottlenose DolphinsIncredible day whaling on the Hornblower! Captain Ernesto headed west out of San Diego Bay to the 15 mile mark. We saw one big Blue Whale who was deep diving for krill, 10 Rizzo Dolphins, 300-400 Common Dolphins and 20 Offshore Bottlenose Dolphins. Among the Offshore Bottlenose Dolphins, we sighted the most famous Dolphin on the West Coast, "Patches!" He is a rare, black and white spotted dolphin. His unique coloration is a result of partial loss of pigmentation that causes Patches to have white, patchy discoloration on his skin. Patches was first sighted in San Diego in 2006. He loves to frolic with other dolphins and most certainly loves to entertain the guests aboard the Hornblower. Patches was last seen 3 years ago in San Diego waters. Patches and his dolphin friends like to travel up our West Coast of California and sometimes visit Central America's Pacific Ocean area. It is always is very special pleasure to see that Patches is alive and thriving in the Pacific Ocean and visiting our San Diego waters!!
07/29/181 Fin Whale, 800+ Common DolphinsWe began our cruise today with warm temperatures, a slight breeze and calm waters. We traveled out 12 miles in search of whales. Along the way, we encountered several pods of 100+ Common Dolphins that rode the waves in front of the boat and surfed the waves in the back much to the delight of our guests! Fascinating to observe an estimate of 800 of these beautiful acrobatic Common Dolphins. We did eventually come across a Fin Whale, which we had a brief encounter with and was close to the boat.
07/28/18100+ Common DolphinsIt was a nice cool day on the water - little overcast but the sun broke through. We headed out to the 9 mile bank looking for whales. Unfortunately, no whales but lots of Common Dolphin. A few pods came over to the boat to play in our bow waves. We had guests from all over the U.S and many parts of the world. It was a fun day!
07/27/181 Blue Whale, 100+ Common DolphinsA calm sunny day today! We spotted a single Blue Whale, but it was heading away from us in Mexican waters so we were unable to watch the whale. We also encountered 100+ Common Dolphins.
07/23/181 fin whale, 150+ Common DolphinsWe departed under clear skies with a light breeze 3 foot seas. We headed out to the west of Pt Loma and came across a Fin whale 8 miles out. The whale was milling in an area between 5 pods of common Dolphin with about 150 dolphin in each pod. We let the boat drift and different pods of the dolphins would swim by and completely surround the boat, This was amazing! We were able to get close views of the whale four separate times with about eight to ten minutes between sightings. One time as we were drifting, the whale swam close by the boat very, very slowly from bow to stern giving everyone a fabulous view. Another amazing day of whale watching.
07/22//186 Blue Whales, 20+ Common DolphinsPeople from all over the world joined us today--Israel, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, as well as many from the midwest, south, and east coast of the United States. We saw six blue whales, including two cow/calf pairs. One of the calves swam directly under out boat, causing our captain to drop the microphone, as it surfaced right next to the vessel. We also saw more blows in the distance. Additionally we saw a small pod of Common Dolphins, and three of the Navy's Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins in training in San Diego Bay. Beautiful day on the water.
07/21/185 Blue Whales, 20+ Common DolphinsGreat day on the ocean! Headed out to the 9-mile bank and found 3 adult Blue Whales and a mom and baby Blue Whale for a total of 5 whales. We also saw a small pod of about 20 common dolphin.
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.

Firefighters and Area First Responders to be Honored by Hornblower with Free Cruise Offer in San Diego Through Month of September

San Diego, Aug 08, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Hornblower is extending their annual 9/11 weekend offer of a free cruise to firefighters and area first responders for the entire month of September. Hornblower Cruises in San Diego is inviting San Diego County first responders for a complimentary free admission aboard any of Hornblower Cruises one or two…

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.