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2018- 2019 Winter Whale Watching Report

DateMorning CruiseAfternoon CruiseNotes
02/13/198 Gray Whales, 200+ Common Dolphins, California Sea Lions1 Gray WhaleMorning Cruise: Our morning was filled with sightings of 8 Gray Whales along with a herd of 200+ Common Dolphins feeding with some diving sea birds and California Sea Lions mixed in.

Afternoon Cruise: The wind picked up making spotting a whales challenging. Captain Mike did find a single Gray Whale that were watched briefly.
02/12/192 Gray Whales, 100+ Common Dolphins4 Gray Whales, 50+ Pacific White-sided DolphinsMorning Cruise: We had calm seas and a sunny, cool day with passengers from Germany, Italy, Iraq, Canada, Texas, Wisconsin and Colorado. We spotted 2 juvenile Gray Whales near the southern border. We also encountered a school of about 100 Common Dolphins.

Afternoon Cruise: People from Japan, Italy, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Canada and Florida joined us onboard the cruise. We spotted 4 adult Gray Whales with one swimming in a zig-zagging manner. Guests also were excited to watch a herd of about 50 Pacific White-sided Dolphins.
02/11/194 Gray Whales, 200+ Common Dolphins, 10 Pacific White-sided Dolphins6 Gray WhalesMorning Cruise: We departed under clear skies with light winds with 3-5 foot seas for both trips. Right after leaving the bay, we spotted a spout of a juvenile Gray Whale that was also elusive and swimming in a zig-zag manner.We were lucky enough to come across a pair of Gray Whales that were swimming in a more consistent manner giving us much better up close viewing. We followed this pair down close to the border and then we peeled off to witness a large mixed pod of Common and Pacific White-sided Dolphins. There were at least 200 animals in this group that were all around the boat giving everyone a spectacular show.

Afternoon Cruise: We started with a single juvenile Gray Whale that gave us great views of its body but no flukes. We left this one for a pair of adults that gave us amazing spouts and tail flukes. One of the whales breached, then rolled on his side and finally spy-hopped. Everyone was amazed. We left this pair for a trio of adults. One whale had a nearly all white tail, which is most unusual for Gray Whales. The 3 whales would surface and spout together which was an amazing show. Another incredible day with the wonderful marine mammals off San Diego.
02/10/195 Gray Whales2 Gray Whales, 10 Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: We spotted 5 southbound adult Gray Whales, with some fluking observed. During the cruise, we had good visibility as Captain Chad kept us away from the build up of storm clouds.

Afternoon Cruise: The afternoon was calm and sunny with good viewing conditions. Right after we left the bay, we observed two juvenile Gray Whales swimming together that appeared to be playing with several Common Dolphins. We also spotted several other dolphins that appeared to be hunting.
02/09/192 Gray Whales, 300+ Common Dolphins, 5 Pacific White-sided Dolphins7 Gray Whales, 500+ Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: The trip began with overcast skies and a light drizzle. We first spotted several Pacific White-sided Dolphins that surrounded the boat to the delight of all of our passengers. Later, we spotted 2 adult Gray Whales. The whales surfaced several times lifting their flukes out of the water. During the cruise, the clouds cleared and the sun came out. We capped off our trip with several California sea lions.

Afternoon Cruise: An amazing afternoon on the water! We encountered a breaching Gray Whale that also spy-hopped several times. Overall, we spotted 7 Gray Whales, lots of Common Dolphins, several sea lions and lots of smiles on the faces of our guests.
02/08/192 Gray Whales, 25 Common Dolphins4 Gray Whales, 20 Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: We enjoyed watching a variety of ocean wildlife this morning including 2 Gray Whales, some scattered Dolphins, California Sea Lions and even a Harbor Seal.

Afternoon Cruise: We were able to find Gray Whales almost immediately after leaving the bay due to our sister yacht, the Admiral Hornblower, having located the whales just before we left. As soon as we arrived on the scene, falling in behind the Admiral, one of the Gray Whales began breaching. The guests enjoyed watching the whale breach four times out of the water and also spy-hopped, popping its head straight out of the water. After the whale went down it came back up spouting in front of our bow and swimming between the Admiral Hornblower and Adventure Hornblower. This caught everyone by surprise and made a great photo Op for those that caught it. As all of this was going on we spotted another whale off our starboard side. We followed the whale for a while giving everyone a chance to see it then we moved on. Before heading back a mother and calf crossed our path. As our time ran out we encountered a pod of about twenty Common Dolphins feeding on fish beneath the surface.
02/07/1922 Gray Whales, 50+ Common Dolphins7 Gray Whales, 100+ Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: What an amazing morning filled with Gray Whale sightings. The largest group of Grays was a pod of 6 whales traveling south that surfaced together and showed us their flukes several times.

Afternoon Cruise: We continued to enjoy excellent sightings of Gray Whales with lots of fun behaviors including spyhopping and barrel rolling, which gave us great looks at the whale's pectoral flippers.
02/06/196 Gray Whales6 Gray WhalesMorning Cruise: We departed under partly cloudy skies with 4-6 foot seas and moderate wind. We spotted 6 Gray Whales this morning, 3 separate pairs. All of the whales were swimming near the surface for extended periods of time giving us great views of spouts and occasional flukes. At one time, 2 pairs were on each side of the boat for fabulous viewing right and left. The third pair we found as we were returning back to port with the whales swimming slowly behind the stern of the yacht. We even spotted a double rainbow during the cruise!

Afternoon Cruise: We also spotted 6 Gray Whales in the afternoon, a group of 4 and a pair. The group of 4 whales were amazing. They were juvenile whales, swimming very slowly on the surface. One whale breached 3 times next to the boat. We were able to follow this group for close to an hour. We found one more pair very late in the trip that gave us great double spouts but we ran out of time so we broke off the encounter. Twelve whales in one day – a truly amazing experience!
02/05/192 Gray Whales3 Gray Whales, 50+ Pacific White-sided DolphinsMorning Cruise: Off and on rain showers and heavy winds didn't stop us from spotting whales today. We were able to find 2 Gray Whales that gave us some great double spouts and tail flukes.

Afternoon Cruise: Rain showers continues into the afternoon. We spotted 3 Gray Whales that also showed us their flukes. @ of the whales were zig-zagging and exhibiting courtship behaviors. We also encountered about 50 Pacific White-sided dolphins to finish out the afternoon.
02/04/1910 Gray Whalesno whales spottedMorning Cruise: Choppy trip with gusty winds, but we watched a Gray Whale cow-calf pair and spotted 8 solitary Gray Whales. We also spotted many more blows in the distance, and perhaps even a breach. One of the whales even spyhopped near our boat this morning.

Afternoon Cruise: The weather closed in all around us, with bands of rain moving through with wind and rough seas. Our guests were very fortunate to see a beautiful double rainbow as we headed out of the bay. A couple from England mentioned they have been coming to San Diego for 25 years and always go whalewatching. We are sure they will be back for another trip. And youngsters with a Texas family enjoyed coloring drawings of marine mammals even if we weren't lucky enough to spot the real thing today.
02/03/19n/an/aCruises cancelled due to high winds and rain storm
02/02/19n/an/aCruises cancelled due to high winds and rain storm.
02/01/196 Gray Whales4 Gray Whales, 100+ Common Dolphins, 5 Pacific White-sided DolphinsMorning Cruise: A beautiful, calm day on the water. We first spotted a juvenile Gray Whale heading south. Soon after, we spotted three adults swimming together and then another whale. Visitors joined us from the Midwest enjoying the nice weather and sightings.

Afternoon Cruise: The flat, calm conditions continued into the afternoon. We spotted a Gray Whale immediately outside of the Harbor that was very cooperative. It swam close to the boat and showed us its tail flukes several times. We then went out farther and spotted the spouts of several other whales that were elusive. We wrapped up our cruise with a mixed group of Common Dolphins and Pacific White-sided Dolphins feeding on fish beneath the surface. Cormorants, gulls, pelicans and a few terns decided to dive in and catch some fish along with the dolphins. All the guests were happy to be in
San Diego and away from freezing storms back home. We had people from Germany, Japan, Minneapolis, Ohio, and New York on the afternoon cruise.
01/31/1911 Gray Whalesn/aMorning Cruise: A windy and clear morning. We enjoyed multiple sightings of Gray Whales including 2 cow-calf pairs. We also spotted a Gray Whale breaching several times in the distance. Guests from 5 other states and China were very excited about seeing the whales.

Afternoon: A thunderstorm rolled in as we were heading to the mouth of San Diego Bay. After seeing several lightning strikes off shore, our Captain headed us back to safety out of the incoming rainstorm.
01/30/197 Gray Whales15 Gray WhalesMorning Cruise: Another nice cruise out on the ocean on the Adventure Hornblower today. We spotted a total of 7 southbound Gray Whales. Guests joined us from Santa Barbara and several other states including Utah, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

Afternoon Cruise: What a beautiful, sunny clear day out on the water! The one word that describes our experience today on Hornblower is SPECTACULAR!!! Captain Eric, dubbed "Whale King of the Day", headed southward towards the Los Coronados Islands. We first came upon a cow-calf pair of Gray Whales, which thrilled the guests on board. We observed the pair for about 15 minutes when we noticed more heart shaped blows nearby and discovered two juvenile whales heading south to the lagoons. Within moments we spotted another mother that was assisting her newborn calf with swimming techniques. The Hornblower began to head in a more Westerly direction when we came upon lots of spouts and found 6 more juvenile whales within a short distance of each other. We continued to observe the 6 juveniles that snorkeled then breached a couple of times. As we moved away, we saw another 3 whales that were engaged in mating behavior. As our time began to run out and we turned to head back into the bay, we found 2 more adult whales we also were able to observe. We saw many spouts all around us. Guests on board were absolutely enthralled with seeing so many whales as well as the whalers, Kristine, Larry & Pam on board! Thank you 1st mate Jesse, all the Galley crew and guests aboard for helping make this such an awesome journey. We certainly enjoyed our united, "WHOHOO!!" memories.
01/29/191 Gray Whale3 Gray Whales, 500+ Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: A foggy morning made a finding whales a challenge. Captain Mike did spot a Gray Whale that eluded us in the fog.

Afternoon Cruise: The fog lifted and we enjoyed a gorgeous afternoon. We first spotted a solitary Gray Whale, then were able to watch a mother-calf pair. Our afternoon was capped off by a school of more than 500 Common Dolphins.
01/28/1911 Gray Whales11 Gray Whales, 150+ Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: Another fantastic day with 11 Gray Whales spotted in different groupings this morning.

Afternoon Cruise: Unbelievable day out whaling in our beautiful Pacific Ocean! Our day started with a cool breeze plus a few high clouds as the Adventure Hornblower made its way out of the San Diego with smooth sailing. Captain Mike steered our ship southward when we came upon two very large adult Gray Whales. Guests aboard could see the whales very distinct heart shaped blows and we stayed with the two for look a bit. Both whales showed their unique 12 foot tails which was definitely a "WhoHoo!" moment for guests. We then turned westward and found 4 more whales on all sides of the boat. As we whalers like to call this, "whale soup," for the abundance of whales in the area. We saw a cow -calf pair, plus 2 more Gray Whales that had awesome tail flukes. We also saw more spouts in the distance. As Captain Mike headed back to the entrance of the bay we saw another pair of adult whales that demonstrated a zigzag behavior along with a pod of 150 Common Dolphins. One last surprise a small raft of 5 to 8 sea lions. What an absolute STELLAR Day aboard Hornblower!
01/27/1911 Gray Whales2 Gray Whales, 2000+ Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: Beautiful skies and calm waters made for a beautiful day. We spotted a juvenile Gray Whale as soon as we entered the ocean and four separate pods for a total of 11 Gray Whales for the morning cruise.

Afternoon Cruise: Another warm sunny day with calm waters. Passengers were very excited over the spectacular jumps and acrobatics of a large herd of Common Dolphins! Two Gray Whales were spotted this afternoon. The first in the harbor and the second off Point Loma. The second Gray Whale even approached the yacht multiple times!
01/26/197 Gray Whales, 5 Pacific White-sided Dolphins, 25 Common Dolphins6 Gray WhalesMorning Cruise: A gorgeous calm, sunny day. We headed west then south out of the bay and spotted our first Gray Whales near the border. We had close looks at one whale that was swimming slowly and fluked several times. This whale had a prominent scar on its dorsal that was filled with yellow-orange whale lice. While watching this whale, two more popped up close by on the other side of the boat. After watching these whales for a while, it was time to head back. On the way, we encountered a trio of Gray Whales that were exhibiting courtship behavior-swimming in a zig-zag manner and rolling on their sides. One even tossed its flukes high in the air.

Afternoon Cruise: A sunny and slightly breezy afternoon. We spotted another 6 Gray Whales during the afternoon.
01/25/194 Gray Whales, 10 Common Dolphins, 5 Bottlenose Dolphins5 Gray Whales, 3 Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: We had exceptional day with warm and sunny weather with a slight breeze, a small sea swell and great visibility. We saw 10 common dolphins early on and enjoyed watching them swim with us. We also watched 5 Gray Whales, including some breaching! Towards the end we spotted Bottlenose Dolphins as we entered the bay. Magnificent day at sea!

Afternoon Cruise: The afternoon still had exceptional conditions and visibility! We saw 4 Gray Whales with lots of fluking. We also spotted 3 Common Dolphins. It was such a pleasure to spend the afternoon with such an enthusiastic, curious, friendly crowd with guests from the Netherlands, England and several US states.
01/24/195 Gray Whales, 5 Pacific White-sided Dolphins, 200+ Common Dolphins7 Gray Whales, 50+ Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: A beautiful day to be out searching for whales on the Adventure Hornblower. We spotted 5 southbound Gray Whales along with some Pacific White-sided Dolphins and a big herd of Common Dolphins. Visitors joined us from London, Mexico, Ireland, Pittsburgh and Boise, Idaho.

Afternoon Cruise: A few clouds rolled in that produced some pleasant light winds for our afternoon cruise. Captain Mike took us out into what some of us call "whale soup". We enjoyed great views of 7 southbound Gray Whales including a "Kodak moment" of a tail fluke in front of Los Coronados. A group of Common Dolphins completed our excellent afternoon trip.
01/23/193 Gray Whales, 50+ Common Dolphins6 Gray Whales, 150+ Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: A gorgeous sunny, calm day on the water. We spotted 3 Gray Whales that were headed south including one that fluked along with about 50 Common Dolphins.

Afternoon Cruise: A beautiful sunny day with a slight cool breeze made for a fabulous outing where we first sighted a northbound Gray Whale that was a bit elusive. Next, Captain Eric decided to change directions and headed south. We spotted several spouts in the distance and as we near the vicinity we found a southbound Gray whale. The whale's behavior was unusual as it spent such a short time at the surface. We headed south as we saw 5 more spouts with a possible cow and calve combo. We did observe another Gray and, within a short distance, yet another Gray Whale that came up very close to bow of ship. Guests aboard could even hear its spout and see its tail flukes clearly under the water. Whale spouts seemed to be everywhere! We also encountered 150 Common Dolphins that were attracted to the Adventure Hornblower. What a great day whale watching!
01/22/197 Gray Whalesn/aMorning Cruise: We saw 7 whales today all in the morning. We started out with one pair of adults halfway up Pt. Loma just outside the kelp line. Both gave great spouts, flukes and even a spyhop. We followed these whales to the mouth of SD bay and then departed further out to sea. We spotted a single adult whale that also gave us great spouts and tail flukes. While
watching this whale we saw a pair of spouts a short distance away which turned out to be a cow-calf pair. Everyone loved seeing the baby whale. We left this pair for two more adults
close to the border. This pair was swimming slowly giving us great views of the entire animals. Another amazing morning of whale watching!
01/21/19n/an/aFor the safety and comfort of our guests, high winds and seas turned our whale watching cruises into harbor cruises.
01/20/195 Gray Whales, 100+ Common Dolphins5 Gray WhalesMorning Cruise: Our morning trip saw 5 Gray Whales: one juvenile, one adult pair and one cow-calf combination. All the whales gave great viewings, amazing all the guests onboard. We ended the trip with over 100 Common Dolphins, which seemed to be the highlight of the trip.

Afternoon Cruise: The PM trip also saw 5 Gray Whales starting out with a trio of adults giving spectacular simultaneous spouts and flukes. This was followed up by two single whales again with fantastic views. All day long we saw additional spouts around the entire area of where we were. We even drove by spouts as we headed back into the harbor.
01/19/193 Gray Whales, 3 Pacific White-sided Dolphins5 Gray WhalesMorning Cruise: The day started out with quick views of a few Pacific White Sided dolphins. Then we came upon 3 gray whales- 2 adults and 1 subadult (Juvenile). They were all traveling south; but one of the adults was not boat shy! S/he was very curious of the vessels nearby, and came quite close to the Adventure at one point, which was a treat to the passengers. Great views and great video and photo opportunities! On top of that, toward the end of the cruise, someone pointed out the large military ship in the distant and a plane. It was quite far, but it didn’t prevent us from seeing 13 Navy Seal parachuters being launched from the plane into the ocean! You don’t see THAT every day.

Afternoon Cruise: During the afternoon cruise, the conditions held up and the whales delivered. We came upon 3 different groups of Gray whales, a single and two doubles traveling together. Passengers got good views and for those watching in the right direction/angle got blessed with a “rain blow” - rainbow colors showing up in the spout/blow. The whales were fluking periodically. At the very end of the cruise, one of the other vessels had spotted a mother/calf Gray whale pair. As we came closer, the passengers on the Adventure took note that the calf was separated from mom— instead, checking out the smaller whale watch boat. According to the captain, the calf was rubbing against the hull and flip flopping around the boat. With all motors off, the smaller boat was just bouncing in the water; hoping that the calf would decide to go back to his/her mother. No such luck. The captain was eventually able to motor away; but the calf was still curious and came close to the Adventure Hornblower! The calf brought its' head up out of the water, fluking and rolling its body around. This was a very special encounter for ALL those on board. Captain Richard announced that we would have to leave the calf and expressed hope that the mother would show up. As soon as he said that, we heard a big sound as the mother gray whale surfaced at the front of the Adventure! She rounded up her calf and headed out as we concluded the cruise and headed into the bay.
01/18/197 Gray Whalesno whales sightedMorning Cruise: Beautiful sunny day with some swells. We began with a very friendly whale that fluked and zig-zagged, but gave us time to catch up. Then we saw a total of 6 more whales. People joined us from Italy, Ohio, Nevada, Iowa.

Afternoon Cruise: A beautiful afternoon with some swells, but unfortunately we saw no whales or dolphins. We did see a lot of military ships and a Nuclear submarine entering the harbor.
01/17/194 Gray Whales20 Pacific White-sided DolphinsMorning Cruise: We saw two separate cow/calf pairs heading south. Both calves appeared very young. We saw a military submarine coming into the San Diego Bay. Passengers were from France, Germany and Canada.

Afternoon Cruise: The Adventure Hornblower left San Diego Bay under light showers as we headed southward in search of Grey Whales whose migration route brings them along our San Diego coastline. Foggy conditions along with some wind and showers made our journey a bit difficult in sighting the whales. Captain Rick was able to locate a small pod of 20 Pacific White-sided Dolphins who were immediately attracted to the bow of the ship where they certainly delighted the guests on board with their swimming abilities. We continued to search the ocean waters, but no whales were sighted due to the continued weather conditions. Visiting military ship from Canada was sighted and also two US Coast Guard ships were present about two miles from our coastline.
01/16/192 Gray Whales8 Gray WhalesMorning Cruise: A Pleasant day with intermittent overcast skies which then became sunny. A large rainbow appeared. Visitors from Indiana, Illinois, North Carolina and China joined us on the cruise. We followed 2 Gray Whales heading south at a consistent pace.

Afternoon Cruise: Upon leaving the bay, we had a few swells that subsided as the sun began to shine and it warmed up a bit. We spotted a couple of spouts about a half a mile out but, as we headed to see them, the whales became very elusive for us. Captain Mike then headed further out west in search of more Eastern Pacific Gray Whales. Just observing from the Hornblower about 2 miles out there was an incredible rainbow that spanned from Point Loma to Imperial Beach. It made us all think that it gave us such awesome luck with the Gray Whales. We encountered 2 Gray Whales who demonstrated mating behaviors. After observing them, our Captain decided to continue our journey westward. We were greatly rewarded as there were multiple sightings of Gray Whales in the area. We came upon a cow and a young calf who absolutely thrilled passengers on board. The cow and calf actually swam beneath the Adventure Hornblower as it was stopped and drifting- the cow and calf then came up directly next to the starboard side. Guests aboard were amazed to see the bodies of the cow and calf. Then for an extra thrill, the calf raised its head above the water to observe the humans on board. It was like this calf was saying "Hello Humans!" What an incredible experience for all on board! A total of 5 Gray Whales with a cow and calf combination just made everyone's day. On top of all that activity we spotted more than 5 spouts around the Hornblower. Unfortunately our time ran out. All guests aboard were extremely happy, lucky and very thrilled with today's experience off our San Diego Coast. Well Done!!! Captain Mike, First Mate Kaitlyn, and the fabulous Galley Crew! Thank you so much on behalf of the guests today and The Natural History Museum Whaler Staff, Dee and Pam on board today.
01/15/191 Gray Whale1 Gray Whale, 20 Pacific White-sided DolphinsMorning Cruise: After a couple of showers the sun broke through. Passengers from Canada, England, China, and the US saw 1 southbound whale making its way to the Lagoons of Baja.

Afternoon Cruise: The afternoon cruise had almost everything - 20 or more Pacific White Sided Dolphins jumping and playing near the boat, a full rainbow shining from end to end, one submarine, lots of Navy boats, and faint blows from an elusive gray whale. Seas were calm and enjoyed by all, some coming from as far away as Brazil.
01/14/192 Gray Whalesno whales spottedMorning Cruise: Blustery, rainy weather did not keep our guests back at the dock. Our captain Eric found 2 Gray Whales and one of them breached.

Afternoon Cruise: A bit of clearing as we head out. We watched an amazing flight of hundreds of cormorants streaming into the Bay, all in single file. Later in the afternoon, unfortunately, the visibility decreased and the rough seas returned, preventing us from finding any migrating gray whales or dolphins.
01/13/195 Gray Whales2 Gray WhalesMorning Cruise: The Gray Whale migration is at full force. We enjoyed watching 5 Gray Whales this morning.

Afternoon Cruise: Another good show with close looks at 2 Gray Whales.
01/12/195 Gray Whales, 10 Pacific White-sided Dolphins, 250 Common Dolphins4 Gray Whales, 35 Pacific White-sided Dolphins, 20 Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: It was a cold, rainy morning, but surprisingly once we got out in the ocean on the boat, there were great water conditions with the sun shining! Approximately 5 miles from shore we found a group of 5 adult Gray Whales traveling together! Our passengers had great views of the whales, they were so happy! Later on we saw about 10 Pacific White-sided Dolphins. And then here were about 250 Common Dolphins, much to the delight of the passengers. It was a great morning on the water!

Afternoon Cruise: The clouds were really starting to part, with blue skies above us as we boarded the boat. We had some excited passengers ready to see some whales. We had passengers from Australia, New Zealand, North and South Carolina, Texas, Arizona, Minnesota, and a lot from right here in San Diego. And none of them had ever seen a whale! They were in for a treat. Once we got out about 3 miles from the tip of Pt. Loma we found two Gray Whales! One of them even swam really close and was only about 20 feet from the boat at one point, The passengers were thrilled and even more excited when the whale took a deep dive and showed us its fluke! Once we were out about 6 miles we found 2 more adult Gray Whales and we enjoyed really close looks at them also. We had some really fantastic views of their barnacles as they got close to the boat. To top off the afternoon we came across about 35 Pacific White-sided Dolphins and about 20 Common Dolphins. On the way back to shore we came across a big huge submarine that was close to our boat. We had some navy veterans on board that told us that was their highlight of the day. What a great afternoon to be in San Diego out in the ocean!
01/11/195 Gray Whales3 Gray WhalesMorning Cruise: Great viewing conditions today with calm seas and overcast skies. We spotted 5 Gray Whales this morning, a cow-calf pair and a trio of adults. We enjoyed excellent views of the cow-calf pair with both animals on the surface for the entire viewing. The trio of adults were a little more boat shy swimming in a zig-zag manner giving us our views at a little more distant. It was still very exciting to see three spouts at a time as well as multi-tail flukes.

Afternoon Cruise: We spotted another trio of Gray Whales which we watched for most of the afternoon. The viewing was amazing with the whales swimming just below the surface in very clear water so we could see the entire animal swimming along! Eight Grey whales. What an amazing day!
01/10/194 Gray Whales4 Gray Whales, 5 Pacific White-sided Dolphins, 2 Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: A lovely cruise with sunny and clear weather. We spotted 3 adult Gray Whales and a calf that stayed very close to its mother. The whales appeared to be traveling south together. We also a few Common Dolphins during the cruise. We had guests from as far away as Switzerland, as well as WI, MN and other states. At least 20 children were on board from ages 6 to 12 that were part of the Golden Hill Camp.

Afternoon Cruise: The afternoon saw calm seas with swells at 15 second intervals, it was clear and not too cold. After some searching, we found 4 adult Gray Whales, traveling in two groups of two. Pacific White-sided dolphins rode our bow on the return trip, delighting the guests. We also spotted a pair of Common Dolphins during the trip. We had guests on board from China, Austria, and many East Coast states.
01/09/192 Gray Whales7 Gray WhalesMorning Cruise: A bright and beautiful, calm but brisk morning. Just after exiting San Diego Bay, we encountered one Gray Whale. It appeared to be a juvenile from its very small size. We remained in the area to observe it and then set off to find more whales. We then found a rather large adult Gray Whale moving at a rapid pace (for a Gray Whale). Each time she came up to blow, she dove showing her fluke (even on very brief dives), giving the cruise passengers excellent photo opportunities.

Afternoon Cruise: Breezy and brisk, but clear skies as we set out for the afternoon tour. As we approached the mouth of San Diego Bay at Cabrillo National Monument, Captain Mike announced that in communications with the America, about 4 miles out to our south, they reported seeing several whales, and so we headed in a southerly direction. Sure enough, we began seeing Gray Whale blow spouts due south of Point Loma, close to the U.S.-Mexico maritime border. We encountered one juvenile Gray Whale heading south which skimmed the surface of the water the entire time, never diving. We paced that whale slowly from a distance for a short time before turning west to seek out more whales. And they were everywhere! We identified no fewer than 7 Gray Whales, and saw at least 3 more spouts in the distance which we could not positively identify, having only seen the spouts. Reluctantly, our time was up and we needed to return, but not for lack of spotting whales! The visitors on board were very excited and had many questions for the Whalers on board after the NHM presentation. Nearly everyone on board attended –it was a full house in the forward lounge during the presentation. It was a marvelous afternoon out on the water. Notable for their absence: dolphins (none sighted at all).
01/08/193 Gray Whales, 100+ Common Dolphins3 Gray Whales, 100+ Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: Nice calm conditions for whale watching today. Captain Eric found us 3 southbound Gray Whales and an energetic school of 100 Common Dolphins for guests to watch.

Afternoon Cruise: We spotted Bottlenose Dolphins leaving the bay along with 2 Gray Whales headed south.
01/07/195 Gray Whales, 5 Bottlenose Dolphins2 Gray WhalesMorning Cruise: Excellent sea conditions and light winds made for superior spotting of five Gray Whales which included a cow and calf pair (our first of the season), a pregnant female and 3 adults all heading southward to the lagoons of Baja California, Mexico.

Afternoon Cruise: A continuation of excellent sea conditions with a slight breeze. Sightings of large batches of sea birds were seen feeding on small schooling fish. Two Gray Whales were spotted at the 9 mile bank. They zig-zagged and possibly showed mating behaviors. What a great day out on the ocean!
01/06/192 Gray Whales, 3 Pacific White-sided Dolphins1 Gray Whale, 5 Bottlenose DolphinsMorning Cruise: Shortly after leaving the bay we spotted our first Gray Whale. After a short time watching, this whale eluded us. We were next greeted by several Pacific White Sided dolphins. We then came across a juvenile Gray Whale that we watched diving while showing each knuckle and its flukes.

Afternoon Cruise: Conditions made it difficult to spot whales again this afternoon. We were greeted by Bottlenose Dolphins as we left the bay. Shortly before it was time top head back in, Captain Chad spotted a Gray Whale spout in the distance, yet the whale was rather elusive.
01/05/191 Gray Whale2 Gray Whales, 25 Pacific White-sided Dolphins, 25 Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: Even though it was overcast with a storm on the way, it was relatively calm on the water. We started the cruise by passing by the bait docks to watch the California Sea Lions and birds and the passengers were excited! We later found an adult Gray Whale heading south much to the delight of our passengers! And the whale brought us a couple of flukes, which brought much joy to everyone.

Afternoon Cruise: In the afternoon the skies were getting darker with a hint of rain on the way, but it did not rob our passengers of enthusiasm! They were all excited to find whales! We had people on board from India, Argentina, Japan, and many states from around the country. Captain Joe did a fantastic job in finding us a couple of adult Gray Whales heading south near the kelp beds just about 2-3 miles from PT. Loma. All the passengers were so excited! And when we saw their flukes, people applauded! When we made a turn to head back to the dock all of a sudden here were some dolphins! We had about 25 Common Dolphins and then about 25 Pacific White Sided Dolphins, everyone was thrilled. It was a great day on the water, in spite of the rain.
01/04/195 Gray Whales1 Gray Whale. 40 Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: It was a beautiful day on the ocean, with calm winds, and smooth seas for both morning and afternoon cruises. Guests from Israel, Utah, Washington, Chicago, Las Vegas and Maryland joined us. The morning saw 5 Gray Whales, with great looks at 4. We started with a single adult Gray Whale that was swimming very quickly but gave us great spouts and tail flukes. The view ended with 3 spectacular breaches right next to the boat. We left for a pair of spouts off in the distance which were another pair of adult Gray Whales. We followed this pair all the way to the border again giving us great spouts and flukes. Our last whale was a very small juvenile that was swimming slowly on the surface as well as just beneath. The size difference was a great contrast for all the guests to see. We called it a day and then headed back to the dock.

Afternoon Cruise: The afternoon trip saw one Gray Whale and about 40 Common Dolphins. The whale was a mature adult giving us spouts and flukes but swimming very erratic. The whale stayed down 10-12 minutes between showings and would pop up a good distance away from the boat. We did get one great showing when the whale came up right next to the boat. Heading back up Pt. Loma we came across a group of about 40 Common Dolphins that gave everyone a great show. After that we called it a day and headed in. Another amazing day of whale watching for Hornblower guests!
01/03/19n/a3 Gray Whales, 60+ Common DolphinsAfternoon Cruise: We departed under perfect, clear skies and calm seas. The first thing we found were 3 small pods of common dolphin with about 20 per pod. We had good viewing but only stayed with them for a few minutes to head out for a whale spotted 4 miles away. We found a single adult Gray Whale swimming slowly along the surface giving us spectacular views of its back and tail flukes. We followed this whale to the Mexican border and then turned north. A very short time later we came across 2 more Gray Whales, an adult and juvenile. These whales were milling in one area and would give 3-4 spouts before fluking and disappearing for about 10 minutes. We got 3 great shows from this pair and then it was time to call it a day and return to the dock. What a fabulous day of whale and dolphin watching!
01/02/191 Gray Whale, 1000+ Common Dolphins4 Gray Whales, California Sea LionsMorning Cruise: We enjoyed an amazing day on the water joined by guests from Sweden, London, Japan, China, and Canada as well as many U.S. states. Guests were delighted with a sighting of a solitary Gray Whale along with a huge group of Common Dolphins,

Afternoon Cruise: The day continued to be beautiful and mild with calm seas. We spotted and followed 4 separate Gray Whales. We also spotted 2 more whale spouts behind us in the distance. We watched numerous blows and flukes as the whales traveled south. Visitors from Peru, England and China were aboard.
01/01/1950 Common Dolphinsn/aMorning Cruise: A lovely, sunny morning to begin the New Year! We observed Common Dolphins playing in the Adventure Hornblower's bow wake. Looking forward to a robust whale watching season!
12/31/1825 Bottlenose Dolphins25 Bottlenose DolphinsMorning Cruise: We encountered a large pod of bottle-nosed dolphins. We had international guests from Holland, Germany, China, Japan and Mexico as well as guests from throughout the U.S.

Afternoon Cruise: We started out of the bay under over-cast skies. The sea became choppy so the captain returned to the harbor. On the way back in we spotted 25 bottle-nosed dolphins, sea lions near the bate dock and lots of birds.
12/30/181 Gray Whale2 Pacific White-sided DolphinsMorning Cruise: We enjoyed another beautiful day on the water. During the cruise we encountered a solo southbound Gray Whale. We spent some time observing blows and fluking from the whale. Passengers were on board from UK, Australia, Peru and Utah.

Afternoon Cruise: The sunny, calm conditions continued into the afternoon. We encountered two Pacific White Sided Dolphins during the cruise, but did not spot any baleen whales. Passengers joined us from Australia, New York, and Texas.
12/29/183 Gray Whales, 200+ Common Dolphins2 Gray Whales, 600+ Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: A beautiful day on the water. We first sighted a single Gray Whale, and then a pair of Grays headed south.

Afternoon Cruise: It continued to be a beautiful day on the water. We spotted 2 Gray Whales (southbound) early in the voyage and one even fluked before they moved out moved on. We also enjoyed watching about 600 Common Dolphins in a large herd later on in the cruise. Guests from Germany, India, SE Asia, and San Diego joined us on the cruise.
12/28/184 Gray Whales2 Pacific White-sided DolphinsMorning Cruise: As we cruised out of the bay, we soon found 3 gray whales traveling together. The passengers were blessed with amazing views. Even with a sold out cruise, everyone had a chance to see these beautiful marine mammals. After a while, the captain decided to venture north to find other marine life. We came upon a slowly moving gray whale along the Kelp forest. S/he stayed near the surface for quite some time and even fluked!

Afternoon Cruise: In the afternoon, the conditions were nice. Even with all eyes looking for the large marine mammals, none were sighted in the San Diego area. We did find a couple of Pacific White Sided dolphins.
12/27/182 Gray Whales, 15 Pacific White-sided Dolphins2 Gray Whales, 400+ Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: The cruise started out with sun, light wind and warm weather. We spotted 2 adult Gray Whales heading south. Many different passengers joined us from all over the world (Japan, Taiwan, India, and Canada). Everyone enjoyed the open ocean and the color of the sea. Near the end of the tour, we spotted 15 Pacific White-sided Dolphins.

Afternoon Cruise: Sunny, clear skies with clear water made whale and dolphin watching easy. Our first sighting was of more than 100 dolphins joyfully swimming and playing near the boat. Passengers young and old delighted in watching them. As the boat traveled looking for whales, more and more dolphins approached, some jumping high in the air. All together there were about 400 Common Dolphins sighted! And then we spotted one, then another Gray Whale traveling south. Overhead one booby (bird) flew nearby. What a day! Passengers were from the US, Japan, Canada, Austria.
12/26/181 Gray Whale1 Gray WhaleMorning Cruise: It was a beautiful sunny day on the ocean with large, gentle swells. We spotted one adult gray whale heading south.

Afternoon Cruise: The wonderful sunny day continued, with large rolling swells and a stiff breeze reminding the passengers of the season. We tracked one juvenile Gray Whale and the passengers were rewarded with some great views of this magnificent animal. A school of flying fish briefly entertained us as well. Passengers from Canada, Singapore, and Sri Lanka enjoyed the trip, as well as those from many states.
12/25/18n/an/aCruises cancelled due to stormy weather.
12/24/184 Pacific White-sided Dolphins, 300+ Common Dolphins500+ Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: We had passengers from all over - Texas, Washington state, Canada, Utah, and Arizona. We first spotted 4 Pacific White-sided Dolphins and then later saw 300 Common Dolphins. Most of the cruise was smooth water, but foggy with low visibility.

Afternoon Cruise: The afternoon was warm and sunny with calm seas. We spotted about 500 common dolphins and lots of seabirds feeding.
12/23/181 Gray Whale, 1 Humpback Whale1 Gray Whale, 6 Pacific White-sided DolphinsMorning Cruise: We enjoyed an overcast Sunday morning with calm seas. We observed one juvenile southbound Gray Whale that snorkeled and continued on a constant direction and speed. Additionally, we saw a Humpback Whale, which fluked on a regular basis. A nice outing, enjoyed by all.

Afternoon Cruise: A beautiful, sunny afternoon with calm seas. We observed one southbound juvenile Gray Whale and 6 dolphins. We stayed with the Gray Whale to observe for quite some time. The dolphins were observed in the distance as the sun was setting.
12/22/1830 Pacific White-sided Dolphins1 Gray Whale, 2 Pacific White-sided DolphinsMorning Cruise: The ocean was calm and the skies clear for the morning cruise. As the Captain was on his mission to find the large marine mammals, he instead came upon Pacific White-sided dolphins- who delighted the passengers with bow riding and wake riding views. With the crystal clear water visibility, it was easy to see the distinguishing features of these beautiful dolphins. A lot of bird activity was also seen throughout the morning.

Afternoon Cruise:
The calm water conditions continued into the afternoon, resulting in a nice ride on the ocean. The Captain took a northern route and with the help of the whale watch tour community, everyone was treated with a long encounter with a small juvenile Gray Whale. This whale was somewhat “elusive’, but with the water visibility, the passengers were able to get good views of the whale. A few passengers got to see 2 Pacific White-sided Dolphins.
12/21/181 Gray Whale, 1 Humpback Whale, 75+ Pacific White-sided Dolphins2 Gray Whales, 500+ Common DolphinsMorning Cruise: We spotted an adult Gray Whale and an adult Humpback Whale. We also spotted a large group of about 75 Pacific White-sided Dolphins. During the cruise we also spotted numerous California Sea Lions, Brown Pelicans, Seagulls, and Cormorants.

Afternoon Cruise: We saw two adult Gray Whales swimming in southward direction. A little later, about 500 Common Dolphins swam around the boat. What a spectacular sight! One Brown Booby was spotted in flight right off the side of the boat.
12/20/181 Gray Whale, 20 Pacific White-sided Dolphins, 20 Bottlenose Dolphins3 Gray WhalesMorning Cruise: Although we had some large, smooth swells, we had great visibility and Captain Earnesto found a large Gray Whale for us to watch. He also found an unusual mixed pod of offshore Bottlenose dolphins and Pacific White-sided Dolphins that frolicked with the boat so everyone could enjoy watching them. It looks like Gray Whales have arrived!

Afternoon Cruise: Ocean conditions persisted, but our Captain was able to locate a pair of large, Gray Whales heading south. As we followed the whales, one fluked several times. On the way back into the bay, we spotted a third Gray Whale. Many of our guests saw their first baleen whales today!
12/19/18No whales sighted2 Gray WhalesMorning Cruise: We searched near and far and did not see any whales this morning.

Afternoon Cruise: Luck was with us this afternoon, as we spotted two Gray Whales traveling south.
12/18/181 Humpback Whale3 Gray WhalesMorning Cruise: We went out to the 9 mile bank with slightly bumpy seas. On the way back in to the bay, we sighted a Humpback Whale in the distance. We had passengers from many states and The Netherlands, UK, and Singapore join us this morning.

Afternoon Cruise: Our delightful, sunny afternoon was made even better when we sighted not one but two southbound, Gray Whales that stayed near the boat for about 40 minutes. They kept themselves hidden staying low in the water with small blows. At first it seemed to be a mother and her calf. However, both whales had good sized barnacles indicating the “calf” was actually a juvenile. They also rolled in the water and raised a flipper now and then. On our way back in we saw a third juvenile Gray Whale who fluked, spy-hopped, and breached several times. School is out for some, so there were many delightful families with curious children on board. Another terrific day!
12/17/182 Common Dolphins, 3 California Sea Lionsno whales spottedMorning Cruise: Great spotting conditions for whale watching today. While we spotted a couple dolphins and a few sea lions, whales eluded us today.

Afternoon Cruise: A beautiful afternoon on the sea with gentle waves and abundant sunshine. Unfortunately, we didn't spot any whales or dolphins while out on the ocean.
12/16/18250+ Common Dolphinsno whales spottedMorning Cruise: This morning we had a beautiful cruise with sunny and calm seas. We observed 250 common dolphins, including many dolphin calves, jumping all the way out of the water.

Afternoon Cruise: A beautiful, calm, sunny cruise. We had a delightful group of people from Canada, Korea, as well as from all over the U.S. We didn't sight any Whales today, but are looking forward to when they arrive in full force.
12/15/18no whales spotted1 Gray WhaleMorning Cruise: A gorgeous sunny day with calm seas. As we were leaving the bay, two tug boats escorted in a Navy sub. We sailed out to the nine-mile bank, but no whales were seen. One lone Sea Lion swam close to the boat.

Afternoon Cruise: Beautiful day on the water, light breeze and calm conditions. A little slow at first cruising up to Mission Bay. Upon return to the harbor, a juvenile gray whale spouted near the entrance buoy. The whale snorkeled and dove a couple times, and even showed its tail flukes delighting all the passengers on board.
12/14/181 Gray Whale, 20 Pacific White-sided Dolphins, 100+ Common Dolphins3 Gray WhalesMorning Cruise: Off La Jolla Point, we spotted a Gray Whale heading south. During the cruise we also saw a pod of about 20 Pacific White-sided Dolphins and 100 Common Dolphins.

Afternoon Cruise: Captain Rick was hoping to find the Gray Whale that had been spotted a few hours before and he was successful! Off the coast of Point Loma we watched this incredible mammal for about 20 minutes. The whale seemed to be in no hurry heading south and stayed very near the surface for most of the time. It finally did a beautiful deep dive and, just when we assumed it would stay submerged for a while, it breached not once but four times! We eventually headed a little bit north and saw 2 more whales - possibly a mom and a baby, but we weren't close enough to confirm. We also saw many Brown Pelicans and a few Heermann's Gulls. What a great way to start the season!
12/13/18no whales spottedn/aMorning Cruise: A beautiful day on the ocean with gentle waves, clear skies and warm weather. A few birds were sighted upon leaving the bay. Unfortunately, we did not spot any whales or dolphins.
12/12/18n/ano whales spottedAfternoon Cruise: Although we searched and conditions were good, we did not see any whales.
12/11/181 Gray Whale40+ Pacific White-sided Dolphins, 5 Common Dolphins, 1 Southern Sea OtterMorning Cruise: We spotted a Gray Whale heading south along the kelp beds just outside of Mission Bay. We enjoyed watching this whale for about 30 minutes until it was time to head back to the dock. Birders also spotted phalaropes, auklets and egrets. Guests from Japan, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Colorado, Arizona, and the U.K. joined us this morning.

Afternoon Cruise: A beautiful, sunny afternoon graced the enthusiastic whale watchers (from Spain, Colombia, U.K., Colorado, Idaho, NJ, Ohio, California). While we didn't spot any baleen whales, we enjoyed many encounters with dolphins bowriding alongside the Adventure Hornblower. First there was a lone Pacific White-sided Dolphin that kept up with the boat for 5 to 10 minutes. Then there were 5 Common Dolphins intermixed with about 40 Pacific White-sided Dolphins. The most unusual sighting was a Sea Otter swimming by and rolling onto its back in typical otter fashion.
12/10/181 Gray Whale, 20 Pacific White-sided Dolphins5 Pacific White-sided Dolphins, 1 Common Dolphin, 2 California Sea Lions, CormorantsMorning Cruise: Although it was a cool and cloudy morning, we enjoyed fantastic sightings on our cruise including our first Gray Whale of the season- a juvenile that breached and fluked at the end of the morning. We also enjoyed watching two pods of Pacific White-sided Dolphins that were bow-riding for over a half hour.

Afternoon Cruise: We followed a submarine out of the harbor and noticed a lot of cormorants (sea birds) at the mouth of the bay. While out on the ocean, we spotted Pacific White-sided Dolphins, a Common Dolphin and a couple of sea lions.

Whale Watch Report

Orcas Ride the Wake of a Fishing Boat near San Diego

 

This exhilarating video perfectly captures the excitement of orcas playing in the wake of a small fishing charter boat. Orcas are a type of highly-social dolphin and will occasionally interact with boats by bow-riding, swimming alongside or riding boat wakes. At Hornblower we occasionally spot orcas on our Whale Watching cruises, which is always a thrilling experience! This sighting took place off the Coronados Islands in Mexican waters and close to where we watch whales off the San Diego coast.