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Winter Whale Watching Season Summary

We wrapped-up an amazing Whale & Dolphin watching season on Sunday. Along with migrating Gray Whales throughout the season, we finished with a record number of Humpback Whale sightings in March and Fin Whale sightings in April! Our season totals of baleen whales were 633 Gray Whales, 165 Humpback Whales, 59 Fin Whales, 1 Blue Whale and 2 Minke Whales. We also enjoyed encounters with tens of thousands of Dolphins, hundreds of California Sea Lions, a few Harbor Seals and even a rare sighting of a California Sea Otter! We also encountered other wildlife while out on the open ocean including common and uncommon sea birds, as well as the ever-popular Mola mola (ocean sunfish).

We’re looking forward to more fin-tastic Whale sightings during our summer season with Friday through Monday Whale & Dolphin Watching Tours from June 28- Sept. 2.

Finding Fin Whales off San Diego

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The Fin Whales are the current stars of this spring’s whale watching season! We’ve been regularly seeing these gigantic baleen whales for the past two weeks during our Whale & Dolphin Watching cruises — 44 Fin Whales within 2 weeks! We’ve spotted most of the whales at an offshore area called the 9-Mile Bank, a productive area for sea life watching and sport fishing. The Fin Whales are probably attracted to the area by the huge schools of tiny baitfish, which along with krill, are an important food item for these giants. When we see the whales, they are often circling around and diving, which indicate feeding behavior below the surface. The best part, is that our whale watching crew, naturalists and guests have enjoyed spectacular up-close views of these whales and even a rare sighting of a fin whale fluke!

Fin  (or Finback) Whales are found in oceans around the world. While we occasionally see Fin Whales during our cruises off the San Diego coast, they usually are seen in summer and in smaller numbers. Fin Whales are the second largest whale species, after the Blue Whale, attaining an impressive size of up to 80 feet long and 70 tons in weight. From a distance, Fin Whales can be spotted by their 20-foot tall spouts. Up close, they can be positively identified by their prominent dorsal fin, gray coloration with white streaks up the back, and bright white, lower right jaw.

You have a few more days to join us in search of fins and other baleen whales —  our current season ends April 21.

The Humpbacks are Here!

Update: In the past week we’ve spotted more than 90 Humpback Whales- more than we’ve ever seen! Our sightings are filled with all types of energetic behaviors including breaching, lob-tailing, pectoral flipper slapping and even lunge feeding on small schooling fishes! We expect the whales to remain off the coast for as long as the huge schools of bait fish. With sightings of the Humpacks as well as Gray Whales, large herds of dolphins and sea lions and thousands of sea birds, it’s the perfect time for a Whale Watching Cruise!

Original Story: Last week, Hornblower’s crew, Naturalists from the SD Nat and guests from all over the world were treated to phenomenal whale watching, starring more than 30 Humpback Whales! A large number of humpbacks have been traveling through Southern California coastal waters over the past couple of weeks, just north of San Diego.  The whales are probably following the movements of giant schools of tiny fishes like sardines or anchovies, which are a prime type of humpback prey.  A megapod of of  thousands of Common Dolphins  accompanied the Humpacks. Throughout most of the cruise, the Adventure Hornblower was surrounded by breaching and fluking humpbacks and leaping dolphins. What an incredible day!

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