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!
More and more often Hornblower is seeing Gray Whales hanging out in San Diego Bay. About a week ago three Gray Whales were spotted within the bay. One of the whales, a juvenile, has been seen off of Ballast Point in San Diego Bay for the past week. This whale has provided thrilling encounters not just for our Whale Watching Cruises, but also our Harbor Tour Cruises and many private event cruises. For many of our guests, this is their first time seeing a baleen whale!
Why do Gray Whales enter San Diego Bay? Historically, large numbers of gray whales entered the bay as a stopover during their migration between Alaska and Baja California, Mexico. Today, the whales may just be taking a break during their long migration and typically leave to continue their travels within a day or so. Whether for a few hours or a week or more, we always enjoy having these cetacean visitors.
One of the highlights of the gray whale migration is watching mothers tend to their tiny, newborn calves as they travel south. We spotted our first cow-calf pair on January 7 and have seen a couple other pairs during the week. As of January 13, The American Cetacean Society’s Gray Whale Census has reported 8 newborn calves…
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The 2018-2019 Hornblower gray whale watching season begins on December 8 — just in time to spot gray whales as they travel past San Diego en route to breeding lagoons in Baja California, Mexico.
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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.