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San Diego Whale Watching Season Off to a Great Start

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Whale Watching Report 3/20-3/26/14

March 20– March 26, 2014


Morning Cruise

Afternoon Cruise




minke whale, 4 gray whales

AM: West winds all day, clear visibility with rough seas.* guest received whale checks PM: Amazing trip! minke whale breached 12 times right by the boat for all the guests to see plus 4 full size northbound gray whales.


3 juvenile gray whales, 80-100 common dolphins

40-60 bottlenose dolphins

 AM: The Captain took guests out about 4 miles, a little cool and overcast all day our guests saw 3 juvenile gray whales with several breeching 4 times in a row very close to the boat plus 80-100 common dolphins coming to the boat. PM: Guests cruised with the Captain about 9 miles out to see 40-60 bottlenose dolphins riding the bow and wake waves. Awesome sight! 


5 gray whales, 25 bottlenose dolphins

4 gray whales

 AM: Under cool overcast skies our guests saw 5 gray whales and 25 bottlenose dolphins plus mola mola fish, which is a neat.PM: Afternoon trip included many 1st time whale watchers that mentioned they had a great time while they saw 4 fast moving gray whales with a lot of tail flukes.




3 gray whales, 6 gray dolphins


2 humpback cow and calf, 20 risso dolphins

 AM: Trip was well under clear skies plus during some lite chop while guests saw 3 gray dolphins and 6 common dolphins. PM:  The Crowd on this trip went wild with excitement when 1 humpback and her calf rubbed against the bow causing water to spray everyone in that area. However, the fun continued with breaches and simultaneous tail slaps, plus that is not all…. when coming back in 20 Rizzo dolphins were spotted.  


2 southbound gray whales

1 fin whale and 1 baby gray whale

 AM: Under clear skies our guests were able to see 2 southbound gray whales. PM: 1 Fin whale that appeared to be feeding in a big bait ball of krill. Must have been tasty!   guests on this cruise saw 1 juvenile gray whale that came close to boat. What a treat! 


1 gray whale, 80 bottlenose dolphins


1 gray whale, 1 fin whale

AM: Under clear calm seas our guests saw 1 gray whale and 80 bottlenose dolphins

 PM:  With weather remaining the same, 1 gray whale was spotted, plus 1 fin whale up close!



4 gray  whales, 1 fin whale, 7 bottlenose dolphins, 2 mola mola fish


2 southbound gray whales, 2 juveniles, common dolphins, bottlenose

AM: The Captain took our guests about 9 miles out to sea on a beautiful clear day our guests saw 4 gray whales and possible fin whale also with 7 bottlenose dolphins playing at the bow and 2 unique mola mola fish.

 PM: In the afternoon our Captain went out to about 4 miles with lots of activity delighting guests while they saw 2 southbound gray whales and 2 juvenile gray whales by the buoy. Lots of common dolphins, plus bottlenose dolphins, too.


*If whales are not sighted during your cruise you will receive a “whale check” good for another Hornblower Whale and Dolphin Watching Adventure or Harbor Cruise

Gray Whale Visits Hornblower Whale Watching Boat

On 3/21/14 First Officer Grant Boardman caught a nice view of a juvenile gray whale as it approached Adventure Hornblower. The whale approached the crowded whale watching boat, checked out the guests, paused for pictures, and then swam along on its way north off the San Diego Coast. Gray whales are finishing their migration past San Diego in March on their way back to Alaska for summer! Photo by Grant Boardman.

Gray whales have the longest known migration of any mammal. They travel 10,000-12,000 miles round trip every year between their winter calving lagoons in the warm waters of Mexico and their summer feeding grounds in the cold Arctic seas. Thanks to its nearshore migration route, we can observe the gray along its journey. Journey North reports the migration and timing from these Observation Posts and more. Click on this map to follow the whale trail!

To see the Migration Trail Click here!

San Diego Whale Watching Report 3/13-3/19/14

March 13– March 19


Morning Cruise

Afternoon Cruise



5 gray whales


3 gray whales, 2 fin whales, 200 common dolphins


AM: happy guests saw 5 gray whales among the blue water and clear weather.PM: 3 gray whales, 2 fin whales plus 200 common dolphins that played with us for about 45 minutes. Great day!





Whale watching cancelled due to rough sea 


4 gray whales. 200 common dolphins

4 gray whales, 200 bottlenose dolphins, 400 common dolphins

AM: 2 of the 4 gray whales played off the bow for 30 minutes. We stayed in neutral while the guests were treated to an amazing show, then another plus with 200 common dolphins as well.  PM: we had an amazing experience with 4 gray whales that were back floating, thrashing around and mating. One of the best days of the season! Top it off with the 200 bottlenose out deep with the whales and 400 common dolphins in between. 



3 gray whales, 1,000 common dolphins, 1 minke



4 gray whales, 50 common dolphins


AM: went out 6 miles with one single minke circling the boat for an hour. Lots of great views! PM: went out 2 miles northwest for the gray whales and 50 common dolphins. Good show for guests and were pleased.


3 gray whales


1 fin whale


 AM: went out 12 miles to see the gray whales. Guests were pleased with the good showing and cool clear breeze. PM: went out 9 miles to see the fin whale that came close to the boat a couple of times. Overall, a good show with many compliments on the narration and whales.


3 northbound gray whales, 1 fin whale, 200 common dolphins



4 northbound gray whales


AM and PM: clear and calm skies made both trips great time for guests.



6 gray whales, 2 fin whales, 50 bottlenose dolphins.

4 gray whales and 150 dolphins


AM: guests on this the trip saw the 6 gray whales plus the fin whale and with the bottlenose dolphins, it was spectacular and weather clear and mild. 

PM: one of the whales came right up to the boat to blow us a kiss. While we shut the motors down, he came right up to us to see what we were looking at. Our guests had an amazing experience. Fantastic day!!

San Diego Whale Watching Report 3/6 to 3/12/14

March 6 – March 12


Morning Cruise

Afternoon Cruise



4 gray whales, 20 common dolphins

2 gray whales

AM:  We saw 2 northbound gray whales.

PM:  We saw 4 gray whales and 20 common dolphins.

Guests were very happy both cruises!


4 gray whales, 2,000 common dolphins

13 gray whales

AM:  We only had to go out 5 or 6 miles to find two groups of north bound gray whales.  The second pair displayed mating behavior, but became self-conscious at our approach, and swam away.  We then found a mega-pod of common dolphin.

PM:  Found 13 north bound gray whales.  Two pods of 5 and one with 3.  The first pod of 5 gave us a nice show, one breach, one head slap, and a sideways tail fluke and pectoral fin swim by.  It was quite the whale fest this afternoon!


6 gray whales, 200 common dolphin, 2 pacific white sided dolphin, sea lions

4 gray whales, 1 fin back whale, 200 common dolphin

AM:  6 gray whales in all!  3 fins and 3 northbound grays. A solitary bottle nose dolphin was in the bay, and then a few pods of 50 common dolphins were seen on the open water.

PM:  We had a beautiful afternoon on the water, continuing the great sightings made by the AM cruise. We saw a pod of nearly 100 common dolphins on our way offshore where we encountered a fin whale that appeared to be feeding. Our inbound trip was marked by the sighting of 3 gray whales; all doing very shallow dives, spending lots of time at the surface on their trip back north.



2 gray whales, 1 humpback, 600 common dolphin, 1 mola mola, 1 shark

6 gray whales, 200 common dolphin

AM:  We saw 2 gray whales mating along with one humpback.  As well as 3 pods of common dolphin jumping out of the water, going crazy.  It was a great morning!

PM:  6 gray whales headed northbound in one group seen about 12 miles out and many common dolphin.


3 gray whales, 3 finback whales, 2,500 common dolphin

23 gray whales, 1,000 common dolphin

AM:  It was a ‘swell’ day on the water – with sunshine and lake like water.  Passengers came from around the world and across the US and many ‘locals’.  We viewed blows in the distance and one close view of a juvenile gray whale.  A few passengers saw a blow that we thought was a fin whale.  We also witnessed 2 gulls mating…with talons attached; and gracefully falling toward the water.

PM:  The sunshine continued into the afternoon and so did the swells.  However, it did not stop us from seeing the marine life at sea.  A group of 200 common dolphins played with the boat, causing passengers (and naturalists) to scream in delight!  Once we were past the 9 mile bank, we saw a total of 11 gray whales, with many blows in the distance.  One whale spy hopped and we saw multiple flukes.  At times a few of the whales were very interested in the boat; changing course to get a closer view of us.  On the way back to the San Diego bay, we saw another pod of 300 very active Common Dolphins who loved the Adventure.
It was a beautiful day on the Pacific Ocean.


3 gray whales

9 gray whales

AM:  3 northbound gray whales regularly showing their tail flukes on deep dives

PM:  9 gray whales, with one of those whales breaching seven times in the distance!  These 9 gray whales were divided as follows:  Two groups of three whales, one single and two traveling together.  Good day on the water!


7 gray whales

4 gray whales, 12 pacific white sided dolphins, 12 sea lions

AM: 7 gray whales, at least 16 breaches.  We also came across two southbound mating gray whales and a northbound pair breaching.  Fantastic views!  The guests were thrilled

PM:  A blue whale was seen right at SD #1.  We followed the whale for over an hour.  This whale wasn’t a full grown blue whale, but was at least 50 feet long.  There were two pairs of northbound gray whales.  We had some fantastic close views.  Everyone had a wonderful experience.  One of the pairs was mating and it was “special” there were over 50 white sided dolphins “cheering on” the mating whales.  An absolute wonderful day of whale watching.


Today’s Gray Whales Swim Right Up to the Hornblower Boat

San Diego Whale Watching Report for 3/17:

What a glorious day on the water!  The luck of the Irish was with us today for both cruises:  AM:  About 6 miles out, saw one fin whale but it quickly disappeared. The 3 grays heading north – one breached and two cris-crossed the bow of ship several times for close views. Saw about 40 common dolphins coming back into harbor.

PM:  About 7 miles out, saw 4 grays in groups.  Lots of rolling and pectoral fins, indicating mating behavior.  Lots of bottlenose and common dolphins all around the whales.  Three broke off and sped ahead and we stayed and watched the single whale stay on top of water, rolling, spy hopping for about 30 minutes very close to the boat.  Unbelievable sight – one 7 year whaler said she had never seen this previously. About 200 common dolphins and 100 bottlenose dolphins. Report from Kathy Eure, San Diego Natural History Museum Whaler.

From the book, One Thousand Whales in a Year, by Mike Roeder with his partner Scotty Schmidt ride the Hornblower Whale Watching cruise almost daily  ….”They (gray whales) appear as a sparkling, splashing presence that can be seen miles away. Once the boat draws near, they usually approach to play with the boat. Sometimes they are in traveling mode and pay no attention at all. Other times they are feeding and won’t play. But most of the time they swim with the the boat and we really enjoy watching them. From the bow of the Hornblower boat, we look directly downward to see them swimming effortlessly, they are being propelled by water shoved aside by the bow.”  For more
DSC01690 DSC01691 DSC01692 DSC01693 DSC01694 DSC01695 DSC01696 DSC01697 DSC01698 DSC01699Photos by Mike Roeder, Co-Author of the book: 1000 Whales in a Year.



San Diego Whale Watching Report for 2/27 – 3/5

San Diego Whale Report 2014 Season
February 27 – March 5


Morning Cruise

Afternoon Cruise



3 gray whales

1 finback whale, 2 juvenile gray whales


 AM:  We saw 3 amazing northbound gray whales preparing to mate.  Everyone was very excited.

PM:  We saw one finback whale up close as well as 2 juvenile gray whales.


9 gray whales, 6 pacific white sided dolphin

3 gray whales, 6 bottlenose whale

 AM:  We saw 6 gray whales in a group. We soon after came across 3 individual gray whales and one breached 4 times!

PM:  It had been a clear sunny day for both cruises.  We saw 3 gray whales with erratic behavior, diving after one blows, reappearing in zig-zag fashion.  There were also a few sea lions and dolphins out and about.


1,000-2,000 common dolphin, risso’s dolphin, 7 gray whales and 3 calf’s

4 finback whales, 2 gray whales

 AM:  It was a clear beautiful day on the Pacific Ocean this morning.  It was a little choppy and windy as Captain Bill headed the Adventure out to the 9 mile bank, but it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of finding a mega-pod of 1,000 to 2,000 common dolphins about six miles out.  There were many mother/calf pairs, and a report of some risso’s dolphin in the mix.  We think we saw blows of Fin whales, because when we got to where we saw the blows there were no whales.  We did finally find a very elusive north bound gray before we had to head back in.

PM:  Was a little choppier and windier making it more difficult to spot blows,  but this time the Fin whales were a little more cooperative.  One of the four we saw put on spectacular show as it swam near us showing off its tall blow and huge back from blowhole to dorsal fin as it came to the surface five separate times.  As we neared SD1 on our return we spotted a south bound grey, and a few minutes later a north bound grey showed up.


Whale Watching canceled due to weather


Whale Watching canceled due to weather


4 gray whales, 1 juvenile

3 gray whales, 2 juvenile

Another great day on San Diego Bay!  Even with the expected bad weather approaching us.


9 adult gray whales, 1 juvenile and 2 calf’s

3 adult gray whales, 3 juveniles, 3 sea lions, 4 common dolphin

 AM:  Went to mile bank to spot whales and observed a larger group of gray whales that were all north bound.  It was a group of 9 adults, 2 calf and cow/mom pairs, and one juvenile.  We were able to follow this group and observe for quite some time and see one breach!

PM:  We again headed out to nine mile bank and cruised north.  We were able to get fairly close to the two adults and soon saw another single adult fairly close by.  On the way in we saw a juvenile at the one mile buoy area and a couple smaller spouts.  We did see 3 random sea lions roaming around.  One was about 8 miles out which is pretty far off shore for a sea lion.  We also saw two pairs of common dolphins at about 4 miles.

Mega Pods of Common Dolphins Sighted on San Diego Whale Watching Cruise on Hornblower

A report from San Diego Natural History Museum (theNat) Trained Docent and Whaler Ken Shelby from 3/3/14

After 3 days of San Diego’s epic  winter storm, ” it was a clear beautiful day on the Pacific Ocean this morning.  It was a little choppy and windy as Captain Bill headed theAdventure out to the 9 mile bank, but it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of finding a mega-pod of 1,000 to 2,000 common dolphins about six miles out.  There were many mother/calf pairs, and a report of one Risso’s dolphin in the mix.  We think we saw blows of Fin whales, because when we got to were we saw the blows there were no whales.  We did finally find a very elusive north bound Gray before we had to head back in.

The afternoon cruise was a little choppier and windier making it more difficult to spot blows,  but this time the Fin whales were a little more cooperative.  One of the four we saw put on spectacular show as it swam near us showing off it’s tall blow and huge back from blowhole to dorsal fin as it came to the surface five separate times.  As we neared SD1 on our return we spotted a south bound gray, and a few minutes later a north bound gray showed up.”

More about the Common Dolphin. Photos by Captain Joe Dutra

IMG_6686 JTD_2244

Photos by Captain Joe Dutra.JTD_2324 JTD_2333

Mom Tested: Whale Watching


Mom Tested: Whale watching

Is a whale watching adventure with children all it’s cracked up to be?

By Nina Garin

U-T San Diego Photo

U-T San Diego Photo

Whale watching is one of San Diego’s more popular winter activities.

Every year, as the mammals make their way south to Baja, they can be easily spotted just a few miles off the coast. And with so many companies offering tours, you can really get up close to the whales and other sea animals as they swim by.

This certainly sounds like a fantastic activity to do with children — you’ve got a boat ride, they’re learning about sea life and you get several uninterrupted hours of quality family time.

But is it really so fantastic?

Along with the adventure, there’s plenty of potential for disaster, including seasickness and overwhelming boredom.

So in this month’s installment of Mom-Tested, Mom-Approved we go on a 3½-hour Hornblower tour to find out if whale watching is actually all it’s cracked up to be.

Hornblower Cruises Whale Watching Tour

When: 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. daily through March 31; 9:30 a.m. April 1 to 27. (April dates may change depending on ocean activity.)

Where: Navy Pier, 970 North Harbor Drive, Embarcadero

Tickets: $37 to $40, with children discounts available

Telephone: (888) 467-6256



Hornblower, as well as many other companies, offers trips that average about $40 per person (kids sometimes ride for half price). The season began in December with whales headed south, and continues through mid-April with the mammals heading back north. Rebecca Milkey, a spokeswoman for Hornblower Cruises, said there’s been a lot of activity this season, with plenty of grays, humpbacks and dolphins spotted almost daily.


The key to a successful whale-watching trip is to be as prepared as possible. This means pre-ordering your tickets for minimal line waiting, having cash handy for parking and snacks, checking weather conditions to know how many sweaters and jackets you’ll inevitably end up carrying, and stocking up on Dramamine.

You can also temper expectations by checking, a blog that gives detailed accounts of what’s spotted in the ocean each day.

Tip: Read the Dramamine label! The anti-nausea medicine can make you drowsy; even the non-drowsy formula.

Gray whales, seen surfacing off the coast of San Diego, can usually be spotted from December through mid April. u-t file photos


While you may be tempted to find metered parking along the Embarcadero, it’s worth the $10 to park in the USS Midway Museum parking lot. It’s an easy walk, mostly away from heavy traffic, to the ticket booth and the boat. And it really pays off when you disembark and want nothing more than to be close to your car.

People begin lining up 30 to 45 minutes before the scheduled boarding time, which translates into a lot of chatty children looking to make new friends.

Meltdown probability: Low to medium — the preboarding excitement helps keep everyone calm.

Rating: 4 out of 5 happy faces


Most people want to sit on the ship’s top, outdoor level. There are plenty of benches and tables there, but on a busy day not everyone will get to sit in that prime location. There are some outdoor spots on the second level, too, but the remaining seats are indoors. Don’t be too disappointed if that’s where you end up, as it’s a long trip and most people move around the boat anyway.

Meltdown probability: Low to medium

Rating: 4 out of 5 happy faces


It takes about 30 minutes to get out of the bay and into the ocean, and that’s an easy ride that takes you by various local landmarks, including the Cabrillo National Monument. Once the boat reaches the Pacific, things get more choppy and the boat slows down as it tries to pinpoint whale activity.

The ship’s captain does a good job of explaining what’s going on, and there are really friendly volunteers from the San Diego Natural History Museum on board to talk about whale migration or share fun facts.

Still, the novelty of being on a boat ride eventually wears off, so it’s a good idea to bring crayons, paper, a book or even toys as a distraction. (Unless you’re OK with walking a toddler back and forth for hours, or hearing “I’m bored” a million times.)

Tip: Put your cellphone on airplane mode as the ship may cross into Mexico and you’ll get hit with roaming charges.

Meltdown probability: High. It’s going to happen sometime on the trip. Accept it.

Rating: 3 out of 5 happy faces


The top deck of the boat has a snack stand where you can find sodas, candy bars, crackers, sandwiches and salads that range from $1 to $15. There’s also a full bar. Lots of passengers opt to bring their own food, and there are indoor tables on the second level that still offer a full view of the ocean.

Meltdown probability: Medium to high, especially if children spot all those candy options.

Rating: 4 out of 5 happy faces


It’s very likely that along the way to finding gray or humpback whales, you’ll run into dolphins. On this particular trip, there were hundreds of them playfully swimming and leaping close to the ship, captivating everyone.

Whales move a lot more slowly and are much harder to spot. And when you finally do see one, you’re either looking at a spout of water or, if you’re lucky, a tail. While adults can appreciate the rarity and excitement of being so close to wild animals, children just want more playful dolphins.

Even though most kids are ready to move on after one or two spottings, the boat stays out for at least another hour.

Meltdown probability: Medium, depending on ocean activity.

Rating: 4 out of 5 happy faces


It’s feels like it takes forever. The Dramamine drowsy period’s probably kicking in. Everyone is sick of each other. Good thing the Natural History Museum volunteers have a short presentation to take the edge off.

Meltdown probability: Inevitable

Rating: 1 out of 5 happy faces


Even though there’s a lot of waiting and whining, it truly is exciting to see whales up close. Spotting whales takes patience, silence and concentration but the experience (and the investment) is definitely worth it for older elementary school kids to teens. Those with younger families may want to seek out a shorter, 90-minute excursion or wait a few years.

Rating: 4 out of 5 happy faces

San Diego Whale Watching Report for 2/20-2/26

San Diego Whale Report 2014 Season


Morning Cruise

Afternoon Cruise



6 gray whales, 40 common dolphin and pacific white sided dolphin


5 gray whales, 20 common dolphin around the bay


AM:  The morning crew saw 6 northbound gray whales including a mother and calf.  Pacific white-sided dolphins were also seen on the morning cruise and all within 2-3 miles of land.

PM:  The afternoon cruise was just as exciting and we had many passengers who had escaped the “polar vortex” that continues to grip the northern parts of the U.S.  The sun shined brightly on the guests from Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois Michigan, Wisconsin and also Germany and Belgium.  We saw both north and south bound whales in the afternoon and the southbound whales showed us a breach, some spy-hopping and even some “courtship” behavior.  The two northbound whales were on the move to get back to the feeding grounds.  The stop at the bait docks gave passengers views of the sea lions, egrets, cormorants and brown pelicans.  Captain Nick and crew led us back home to the dock and we all had a nice relaxing day on the water.  Calm seas and sunshine.  We are truly blessed.


 12 gray whales and 100 common dolphin

Pod of 7 gray whales

AM: 12 gray whales and 100 common dolphin

PM:  We had a pod of 7 wonderful huge gray whales coming from Mexico.  We noticed blows in the distance and got close enough to hear them breathe for our entire time out at the 9 mile bank.  Seeing 7 gray whales together, spouting and sometimes fluking, one after another is an exciting sight.  We see large numbers like this much more often on the North-bound migration, which now has definitely started.
They gave us a spectacular showing!


2 gray whales

3 gray whales, 100 common dolphin

AM:  2 gray whales seen today.  The first was shy, zig-zagging all over heading south.  The second was comfortable with the boat staying near the surface, snorkeling and heading south as well.            .

PM:  A beautiful calm day with fluffy clouds.  A group of at least 30 common dolphins greeted us on the way out to an awesome mating of two gray whales surrounded by 50 bottlenose dolphins which we could clearly hear breathing.


6 gray whales, 75 common dolphin and pacific white sided dolphin

3 gray whales, 200 common dolphin

Both trips were successful with many whales and many dolphins. We saw some great shows!


One pair of gray whales, 20 common dolphin


5 gray whales

AM:  There were 2 gray whales that swam in all directions.  They appeared to be mating part of the time.  We saw many blows and some tail flukes as they seemed to be swimming in circles.  We also saw about 10 common dolphins that stopped by for a quick play in the bow and stern waves.  The water was calm and everyone enjoyed their views of the whales.

PM:  We came across 5 gray whales that were mating. Lots of great views.  Passengers were very excited.


2 gray whales, 20 pacific white sided dolphin, 20 common dolphin

6 gray whales, 30 pacific white sided dolphin

AM:  We saw a nice pair of southbound gray whales and later on in the cruise a pair of northbound juveniles.

PM:  We saw 3 pairs of gray whales during this cruise


No sightings

4 gray whales, 20 common dolphin

AM:  Large swells, no sightings of whales.  Returned to dock early. 

PM:  Great sightings of 2 adults and 2 calves, about 20 common dolphins.

San Diego Whale Watching Report for 2/13-2/19

San Diego Whale Report 2014 Season


Morning Cruise

Afternoon Cruise



3 gray whales

2 gray whales, 25 pacific white sided dolphin

AM: We found a calf pair headed south. The calf did a dive, so it was not a newborn and breached 2 times in a row, 100 yards from the boat! Good visibility.

PM: Followed 2 adults heading south. Lots of blows and flukes. We then came across 25 Pacific white sided dolphins. Several bow-riding the boat to the delight of the passengers!


3 gray whales

4 gray whales

AM: We had 3 gray whales, one pair and a single. Two were juveniles and one was an adult.

PM: Saw 4 gray whales total. All southbound. The first two were observed at San Diego Buoy #1. They appeared to be both adult whales.

During this cruise, there was heavy Navy traffic in the area. The first of three submarines and the first of two navy missile cruisers. Various helicopters.
The second two were juveniles and were spotted along the kelp beds about three miles south of Point Loma. The whales remained on a straight course and we were able to observe them for at least 45 minutes or more. They stayed together as they went south.

At the entrance to San Diego harbor was the second submarine and another navy cruiser. The whales acted by spy hopping twice and breaching twice. We assumed the whales needed to see the various ships near them and in their path. So the whales headed more Southwest. We were lucky that they came so close to us and gave us a great view.
On our way back toward the Harbor, a third submarine surfaced about 400 yards from our stern. It was awesome! In the bay we saw one the subs
transferring their crew to a tugboat while another crew boarded. The sub was turned around and pointed out of the harbor.


1 gray whale, 10 common dolphin

2 juvenile gray whales, 12 common dolphin

AM: 2 miles off SD buoy 1 for single gray whale 10 common dolphin.

PM: 2 miles off Hill Street we saw a pair of juvenile gray whales. We also saw 12 common dolphins.


4 gray whales

2 gray whales, 1 fin back whale

Great day out on the bay! The fin back whale was great to watch and absolutely magnificent!


5 gray whales, 50 pacific white sided dolphin

3 gray whales, 50 common dolphin

AM: 4 adult gray whales and 1 juvenile. 1 blow of a fin back whale in the distance. We also saw 50 pacific white sided dolphins

PM:  3 juvenile gray whales south bound and 50 common dolphin


2 grays both juvenile

6 total whales: 4 south bound gray whales, all adult and lots of tail flukes. 2 north bound whales too

AM: Lovely, sunny morning, clear skies and great visibility. Adventure Hornblower found 2 gray whales not very far offshore, heading south on their migration. Judging by their size and meandering behavior the volunteers and captain decided they must be sub-adults, juvenile whales trying to figure out if they wanted to go all the way to the lagoons of Baja, Mexico or hang around offshore San Diego like other travelers defrosting from many areas of the world not having our fantastic weather.

PM cruise: What a delight as these clear skies and calm seas make everyone’s voyage enjoyable. Time to sit back on deck, have a snack or beverage and watch the ocean waves roll on by. We were not too far offshore, in the vicinity of Buoy No. 1, when we spotted 4 strong blows. What a sight! 4 mature gray whales traveling very close together. Their dives were synchronized so that everyone on board got excellent photos of those magnificent flukes as they dove. After watching these whales for a while, Captain Nick decided to head offshore to see if possibly we might encounter some fin or humpback whales. But we didn’t go very far (less than 5 miles) when we spotted blows up ahead and were delightfully surprised to see that they were 2 gray whales and that they were heading north on their migration. These were the first northbound whales of our 2014 season and we were all thrilled to explain that part of the journey of these gray whales to guests from as close as South Park, San Diego to Staten Island, New York to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Another fantastic whale watching adventure with Hornblower Cruises. Thanks, Captain Nick.