San Diego Whale Watching | Everything You Need To Know | Adventuress

Everything You Need to Know About San Diego Whale Watching

Everything You Need to Know About San Diego Whale Watching

May 23, 2017

San Diego whale watching has become a premier attraction for nature and animal lovers around the world. Situated along migration paths, with its natural deep water harbor, fantastic beaches, and pleasant, mild climate, it is no wonder that this Pacific Coastal city offers many ways to see these majestic, gentle giants with your own eyes.

Which Whales Will You See Around San Diego?

There are regular sightings of five types of whales in particular: Humpback, Gray, Blue, Minke, and Fin, all of which are baleen whales. This means that instead of teeth, they have baleen plates with bristles to trap their food as they filter the water back out. The Minke Whale is the only one on this list that is not endangered.
Humpback Whale

The Humpback Whale is known for its singing, which can be heard miles away, and its acrobatics. Dark gray or black, with white patches on the stomach, big fins, and tubercles (knobs) on its head, its back is mostly flat but it has a small dorsal fin towards the tail end. When the whale arches its back, however, it appears to have a hump.

For more cool Humpback Whale facts and to hear its awesome songs, visit its Voices In The Sea entry. Also take a look at the Humpback Whale Facts Page.

Gray Whale

The Gray Whale gets its name from its dark slate gray base color and lighter gray patches or mottling pattern. It is often covered in white barnacles and light gray and white scars made by parasites. Instead of a dorsal fin, the Gray Whale has one or more small dorsal humps down the far end of its back. When it hunts, it sticks its head in ocean floor sediment to stir it up before sucking in the water.

Gray Whales will venture into shallower waters.

For more cool Gray Whale facts and to hear its calls, visit its Voices In The Sea entry. Also take a look at the Gray Whale Facts Page.

Blue Whale

The Blue Whale is the largest animal in the world. Not surprisingly, Blue Whales are very rarely attacked.

The Blue Whale’s calls can be heard many miles away and from under the surface of the water. Despite its monumental size, this baleen whale feeds on krill and plankton. The distinctive throat grooves allow the throat area to expand and engulf masses of krill.

Blue Whales are more a grayish blue rather than a deep blue.

For more cool Blue Whale facts and to hear its calls, visit its Voices In The Sea entry. Also take a look at the Blue Whale Facts Page.

Minke Whale

The Minke Whale is the second smallest of the baleen whales. Its upper body is black or dark gray and its underside is white; its flippers are dark with a white patch or band on them. The Minke has a sickle shaped dorsal fin far down its back. Occasionally, it will have a light chevron on its back.

The Minke can stay underwater for close to 20 minutes. When it comes up for air, you should be able to see most of its back, dorsal fin and blowholes.

For more cool Minke Whale facts and to hear its calls, visit its Voices In The Sea entry. Also take a look at the Minke Whale Facts Page.

Fin Whale

The Fin Whale is the second largest baleen whale. It has a V-shaped head that is flat on top and there is a distinctive ridge along the back. The Fin Whale also has pleats on the underside of its body, from the lower jaw to the navel. The back and sides of a Fin Whale are light gray to brown-black. It has two lighter colored chevrons that point towards its tail and the underside of its flippers are white.

For more cool Fin Whale facts and to hear its calls, visit its Voices In The Sea entry. Also take a look at the Fin Whale Facts Page.

The Orca

Orcas are actually a type of dolphin. Formerly known as “Killer Whales”, these fierce hunters have also been called “Wolves of the Sea”.

Orca pods can have up to 25 whales. Like lions and wolves, they hunt cooperatively, making them deadly and cunning Apex Predators. They eat fish, marine mammals, and even land mammals like polar bears. They also hunt and eat whales.

For more cool Orca facts and to hear its calls, visit its Voices In The Sea entry. Also take a look at some other Orca facts.

Other Animals You Might See

Types of Dolphins

Whales are not the only wildlife you will see frolicking in or around the water. If you’re lucky, you will get to see a number of animals with your own eyes.

For more dolphin and sea lion information, and to hear their different calls, go to the Voices In The Sea webpage and browse the awesome menu.

Whale Splashing

Best Methods for San Diego Whale Watching

Onshore

It is said that anywhere along the shore with a lighthouse or the word “point” in its name is potentially a good place to watch for whales, since Gray Whales and Orcas often come close enough to land. Particularly popular onshore whale watching spots in San Diego include: the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, the Cabrillo National Monument, and Torrey Pines State Reserve. The key is to watch the water’s surface for whale spouts and zoom in with binoculars.

In a Boat

Most companies offer 2-4 hour whale watching trips. You are accompanied by a marine biologist, naturalist, or similar expert, who can identify the animals and provide lots of interesting information about them as you sail. Some places even offer special educational trips for kids.

To up the probability of seeing more animals, many people seek out longer boat tours – around 8 hours, which can take passengers into deeper waters. Private charters are also a good means to customize your whale watching experience. Some companies supply a naturalist guide for whale watching charters.

The boat will likely be a catamaran, trimaran or monohull boat. They all have their pros and cons. Catamarans tend to be very stable and designed to be comfortable.

For a more intimate whale watching experience, Adventuress Luxury Catamaran offers an “Ultimate Expedition Package” that allows people to take a Navy SEAL Rigid Inflatable Boat from the catamaran to get even more up close and personal. Contact Us Today to learn more!