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San Diego Whale Watching Report: Summer 2014

Hornblower Cruises & Events San Diego Whale Watching

July 6, 2014 – August 31, 2014

Date # of Blue Whales Spotted Additional Sightings News and Notes
8/31/14 3 Blue Whales Spotted! 500 Common Dolphins AM whale watch had 197 guests and we saw 3 blue whales and 500 common dolphins. It was a great way to finish off the inaugural blue whale season.
8/30/14 4 Blue Whales spotted! 40 Common Dolphins The day was beautiful. We had cloud cover on the way out so it was not too hot. In fact it was a perfect comfortable cruise out about 5 miles. We saw 4 blue whales. One came up literally about 15 feet from our boat! The were feeding it seemed… the were very calm and stayed near the surface. A pod of 40 common dolphin came and rode the wake from the boat. We also saw some 50 jellyfish. (Blue “By-the-wind sailor” jellyfish, otherwise known by their scientific name Velella velella, have been washing up on West Coast beaches. Scientists say in the billions—over the last two months, with sightings reported as far north as Oregon and far south as here is San Diego.) The tourists were from all over the world include some salty sailors that were from the Tall Ships Festival here is San Diego this weekend. – Mike Stewart
8/24/14 4 Blue Whales Spotted! 150 Common Dolphins

Great day, one blue just swam and swam alongside of us for over 15 min. Not a bit afraid, great day. We saw four different blues and probably 150 dolphins, The Captain did a great job!

(Courtesy of Terry Baird)

8/23/14 4 Blue Whales Spotted! 150 Common Dolphins Saw 4-Blue whales in feeding mood. Great views, one of them came very close to the boat while we were drifting! Great show of common dolphins, 3 separate groups 50-150, lots of babies. A lot of bird life and tons of bait/feed.
8/17/14 4 Blue Whales Spotted! 1,000 Common Dolphins Many of the buoys on the way out of the harbor were covered with sea lines, a tease of what was to come. Sea birds could be seen in large numbers indicating the waters were full of fish. Just three miles out we spotted our first blow. Then another. Two blue whales close together. Captain Nick did a great job approaching the two without making them nervous so we were able to stay with them for some time and get some great pictures of the giants. More spouts could be seen in the distance so we moved further out encountering a small group of 25 common dolphins. As we continued we encountered another pod of 60 common dolphins but no whales. As sometimes happens, the whales had moved on. We did too. We turned around and returned to the original two whales and encountered two more blues on the way. Then the passengers were treated to a wondrous sight – a pod of at least 1,000 common dolphins, some with young. Our vessel was soon surrounded by the dolphins delighting the children and adults alike. In their midst was a sea lion jumping through the water chasing fish. Four blues and 1,000+ dolphins made for a perfect day.(Courtesy of Pam Garcia)
8/16/14 6 Blue Whales Spotted! 50+ Common Dolphins Today was a wonderful and clear day. In total, there were 6 blue whales that were close to the boat and over 50 common dolphins swimming alongside. Guests were thrilled with the sights! The narration along with the friendly staff made it a day to remember.
8/10/14 8-10 Blue Whales Spotted! 1,000 Common Dolphins It was a great day on Sunday. In my 5 years as a whaler I haven’t seen anything like what we saw today. We got into a group of about 8-10 blue whales. They stayed in a group for over an hour. They were feeding on krill and sardines. Lunge feeding and rolling over to swallow there food.

Nick needs a bonus for saving fuel. He put the boat in neutral and just drifted for about 45 minutes. There was a dozen fishing boats in the area and the whales were having a feeding fest.
Felt sorry for some of the fishermen in small boats (the red one was maybe 20′ if they were lucky.) After one of the whales came within ten feet they left.
There were probably twenty whales in the area that we stayed in. We saw lots of blows in the distance besides the whales that we stayed with.
All in all one of the greatest days on the water that I have ever had.
(Courtesy of Terry Baird – Whaler)


8 Blue Whales Spotted! 50 Common Dolphins4 Bottlenose Dolphins It was a great day out on the water today. We had guests from Belgium, England, from several states, and a lot of local folks from San Diego. And the majority of them have never seen a whale in his natural environment, out in the ocean! Boy were they in for a treat! We had a slight overcast day, the seas were calm, and the excitement was in the air.As we headed to the nine mile bank, Captain Bill received a call from the navy “Mercy Ship” that was also in the area, that they had a multiple number of Blue Whales near their ship. So we headed towards their ship. And on the way, to our surprise, a big Blue Whale popped up right next to our boat, to the delight of everyone! This was just the beginning of a fantastic day. As we got closer to the Mercy Ship, all of a sudden we were surrounded with big Blue Whales! Then the Common Dolphins showed up, then here came a couple of sea lions to entertain us. You could hear the cameras snapping everywhere. Today we saw 8 Blue Whales very close to the boat, and several blows in the distance. We saw a total of about 50 Common Dolphins and 4 Bottle nose dolphins in the bay. It was a perfect summer day out on the water!


6 Blue Whales Spotted! 1 Mola Mola 400 Common Dolphins Great trip! Saw 6 whales, a couple of Mola Mola, and a couple hundred dolphins. Great day – weather was beautiful. Overcast and cool all day. The captain Nick guided to the only blue whale around, we stayed with it for over an hour. Saw 1 mola, and 300-400 dolphins. Great weather, and a great crowd.


5 Blue Whales Spotted! 550 Common Dolphins6 Mola Mola
The sky was overcast and silver gray, but humid and wonderfully pleasant. The water looked like mercury and very glassy. After heading out towards the 9 mile bank, we spotted 5 Blue Whales. Two kept with the boat, one fairly close, close enough to hear the breath when it surfaced, which is always very exciting. We spotted 6 Molamolas and approximately 550 Common Dolphins at various times. They were on a big feeding frenzy and were clustered very densely at one point surrounding a small boat. Several of them were bow riding and everyone got a big kick out of seeing them up close. A wonderful Brown Booby bird was spotted. Towards the end of the trip we had a squall come through which was tropical and refreshing. All in all it was another great Hornblower trip!
Credit to: Jan Newell – Whaler


1 Blue Whale Spotted with several other sea creatures 7 Risso Dolphins 150 Common Dolphins 7 Bottlenose DolphinsSeveral Sea LionsMola Mola fish A single blue whale thrilled viewers with several fluke views and many back shots. The blue stayed fairly close to the boat, surfacing numerous times. Then another treat – a small pod of 7 Risso dolphins entertained viewers. Several pods of common dolphins, some with young pups, came to say hi, totaling around 150 common dolphins. Also a pod of 7 bottlenose. Three small rafts of sea lions also seen swimming through the ocean. Several passengers saw a mola mola. A few short showers could not dampen the excitement on the boat at seeing so many sea creatures.
7/26/14 8 Blue Whales Spotted! Captain’s Report: Spotted 8 blue whales today! The weather was clear and a great cruise overall. Blue Whale Trivia: Blue whales may be found in all oceans of the world. They migrate to tropical-to-temperate waters during winter months to mate and give birth to calves. They can feed throughout their range, in polar, temperate, or even tropical waters.


6 Blue Whales Spotted! 150 Common Dolphins Our guests were excited as we left the harbor, ready to see some Blue Whales! As we headed out towards the 9 mile bank, we passed a mola mola, then came across a pod of about 150 common dolphins, much to the delight of the passengers. After being about 8 miles off shore, we saw our first blow of a Blue Whale. Then we started seeing blows all around us. As we got closer to the whales, we just cut the engine and drifted. And we got quite a show. We got to see about six whales up close and personal. One of the whales came pretty close to us and we got to see his huge back and then he showed off his fluke, everybody cheered!! It was a great day on the calm seas and everybody left with a smile on their face as we came back to the dock
7/19/14 4 Blue Whale Sightings Up Close Plus 15+ Whales on US side of Border Surprised at first by a blue who popped up without warning close to the ship’s bow. We then spent the morning with the magnificent mother and calf as they treated us to close views including a fluke and traveled from one side of the boat to the next. The sea was calm as a lake today and the overhead clouds allowed the easy detection of the blue below the water’s surface. Saw total of 4 blue whales today up close and personal!
7/13/14 6 Blue Whales spotted! 100 Common Dolphins CAPTAIN’S REPORT: Nick says the water and weather was clear and warm. The guests had a great day and sighted 6 blue whales! The passengers also saw common dolphins swimming and jumping towards the bow.Blue Whale Trivia: The largest mammal to ever inhabit the earth, these blue-gray mammoths of the sea average 75-80 feet in length in this hemisphere and weigh in excess of 100 tons!
7/12/14 20 Blue Whales!!! 200 Common Dolphins Beautiful, clear day on the water. Our first encounter was a small pod of bottlenose dolphins. But soon there was a cry of “There she blows!” as we ventured only about five miles out. Blue whales spouts began to appear everywhere. Soon we had blues on the port and starboard sides. Several swam beneath the boat and emerged with a loud bellow fairly close to the boat, often startling the passengers who shouted in glee. The passengers were treated to a rare sight of whale poop. Then to make the day even more perfect, we encountered two more pods of dolphins as we began our journey back.
7/6/14 6 Blue Whales just five miles offshore! 100 Common Dolphins Last week a small boat was capsized off the SD coast near Tijuana with two passengers on board. No injuries to the whale or passengers occurred. The boat was totaled! See the clip. From the Captains Erik and Bill: We had a stellar day, with 6 blues just 5 miles offshore. Our guests had thrilling views, as a couple if the Big Blues came right near us to wave a big hello. Spectacular views, nice calm seas. Warm summer breeze ” It doesn’t get any better” Bill REPORT: 6 blue whales, close views, 1 tail fluke. 100 Common dolphin. Whale spotters of the day: Riley, Aaron and Miah Alvarez from Oklahoma, spotted today’s 1st blue whales.Judy Lawrence, a seasoned and trained Whaler from the Natural History Museum posted: “Beautiful summer weather and great whales for Adventure’s first blue whale trip.–Pictures and notes from Judy Lawrence.