Wednesday, February 26: Storm not here yet–still calm, and quite a smorgasbord at sea: Day started with two north-bound adult gray whales; while we were watching these slow-moving animals, a mako shark jumped out of the water nearby, doing a near-perfect backflip! Soon we came upon a juvenile gray whale playing with the kelp (photos). Note in one photo this little whale had an open mouth. Two more gray whales were briefly observed heading north. Before entering Mission Bay a small pod of Pacific White-Sided dolphins entertained us as well as a sea lion doing a pretty good imitation of a dolphin amongst their pod. Another great day on the water.
Tuesday, February 25: If the weather man’s predictions of the “storm of the winter” are correct than today was definitely the calm before the storm. Two great trips today! The Morning trip started off by finding a south bound gray whale which chose to be a bit elusive so we decided to move on to a pod of mellow and easy to observe common dolphin. The afternoon trip saw similar conditions but this time we had an early encounter with a group of pacific white sided dolphin numbering roughly 20 individuals including a few young calves. We soon motored to a group of playful common dolphin before making our way to deeper water in quest for some north bound grey whales. we had success finding a pair of grey whales snorkeling along slowly making there way back up north and that was all she wrote for Tuesday!
Monday, February 24: What a great day out on the open ocean! We had 11 northbound gray whales total for both trips! That alone was amazing, but we also encountered three different species of dolphin (common, pacific white-sided, and bottlenose). We were also able to see gray whale courtship behavior on both trips! Add calm seas and sunshine to the mix, and you’ve got an epic day of whale watching.
Sunday, February 23: Dolphins stole the show today! The morning trip saw a single bottlenose dolphin, 20 Pacific white-sided dolphins, a “small” pod of 200 commons and then later a megapod of more than 2,000 common dolphins farther out to sea! The icing on the cake were the three northbound gray whales that we found on the way home. In the afternoon we saw some stunning acrobatics from 600 more common dolphins and two northbound gray whales. Stay tuned in the next day or two for pictures!
Saturday, February 22: What DIDN’T we see today!? Guests aboard all three of our trips today got a wonderful sampling of all the wildlife the San Diego coast has to offer. The morning trip saw 100 common dolphins, one southbound gray whale, six Pacific white-sided dolphins, and a rare treat – a northbound humpback whale! The afternoon trip saw 20 more Pacific white-sided dolphins, two southbound gray whales, and four inshore bottlenose dolphins. To top things off, our guests expecting a simple sunset cruise were thrilled to watch 20 common dolphins frolic near the boat only to be even more surprised when two juvenile gray whales came up just a few feet away as we were heading home! It just goes to show that you NEVER know what you’ll see or when! Hope everyone had as much fun as we did!
Friday, February 21: Captain Mark is back today and decided to head a bit further West aboard the Eclipse this morning, as Privateer is on a school charter. Our guests were not disappointed as they saw MULTIPLE BREACHES by a pair of North bound Gray whales! We will keep you up to date on the afternoon trip and by the way, weather is flat calm and gorgeous! A few days ago we posted that we had set a new record for 2014 by witnessing a young gray whale breach ten times in front of our guests. Well, apparently word got out and those gray whales can sure be competitive! The morning trip saw five whales in total, three heading south and two heading north, one of which decided to breach ELEVEN times before we lost count and had to head back to the dock. The afternoon trip was equally spectacular with looks at one GIGANTIC northbound gray whale and two southbound sub-adults that swam right under the boat giving everyone incredible views. Thank you to everyone who joined us on the water today. It was literally one for the record books!
Thursday, February 20: It seemed like dolphins were taking over the show today with sightings of several Pacific White-Sided dolphins, and two pods of common dolphins–one pod consisting of at least 500 animals. On the return trip to the dock we were surprised by a breaching juvenile gray whale! Such a treat–unfortunately the camera was put away, and by the time was ready to take a photo, the opportunity was gone….next time!
Wednesday, February 19: Nice ocean conditions today; Pacific White-Sided dolphins entertained guests, followed by great looks at two southbound adult Eastern Pacific Gray Whales, regularly showing their tail flukes on dives!
Tuesday, February 18: We had two awesome trips today! The morning trip saw a total of five southbound gray whales. The afternoon trip was treated to three gray whales, one of which breached a whopping TEN times, a record for San Diego Whale Watch so far this year! We finished the trip off with some looks at half a dozen inshore bottlenose dolphins. Incredible day!
Monday, February 17: Morning’s trip rewarded us with three gray whales in the morning and 200 playful dolphins, and the afternoon trip got to see another four gray whales.
Sunday, February 16: Today’s morning trip got to visit with 10 common dolphins and one sub-adult gray whale. In the afternoon we met up with two southbound gray whales just a few minutes after leaving Mission Bay! Guests on the afternoon trip also had fun watching about 30 Pacific white-sided dolphins surf off of the ship’s bow. We ended the day with a spectacular sunset cruise!
Saturday, February 15: Another busy day on the water! The morning trip saw nearly 500 common dolphins, 20 Pacific white-sided dolphins, two gray whales, and a surprise fin whale! The afternoon trip didn’t disappoint with several more Pacific white-sided dolphins, four gray whales, and yet another fin whale!
Friday, February 14: Happy Valentine’s Day, whale-watchers! Today’s morning trip saw at least 20 Pacific white-sided dolphins, two southbound gray whales, and a giant pod of at least 500 common dolphins! The afternoon trip also got some great looks at a group of very acrobatic Pacific white-sided dolphins and two more southbound gray whales. We capped off the holiday with a romantic sunset cruise that ended with beautiful looks at tonight’s full moon.
Thursday, February 13: Dolphin Olympics today….enjoyed two pods of energetic common dolphins. Took awhile to find the blow of a whale – we finally spotted a tall spout–probably of a fin whale, saw three blows, a Navy RIB crossed in front of the whale; undoubtedly spooking the whale, as it did not surface again anywhere near us. Nice conditions on the water.
Wednesday, February 12: We got the chance to watch four adult gray whales exhibiting some courtship behavior today!
Tuesday, February 11: Morning trip started off slow with the heavy marine layer, but we got the opportunity to see one shy gray whale. Afternoon trip found a single gray whale and about 20 lags who were playing with a raft of sea lions.
Monday, February 10: We got the opportunity to finally find those shy common dolphins that have been hiding! We got the chance to see approximately 800 common dolphins today! Hoping for grays tomorrow!
Sunday, February 9: Naturalist Melissa’s last day was epic! Breaching gray whale on the morning trip and several Pacific white-sided dolphins. Afternoon trip saw 9 more grays and a couple inshore bottlenose dolphins. But the icing on the cake was two gray whales on the sunset cruise and one of them breached four times very close to the boat. Gorgeous way to finish the day and close out this amazing three-year adventure. Thanks to everyone who has made my time here at SDWW special. I’ll update all of you with whale reports from Monterey! Ciao!
Saturday, February 8: Seven more gray whales for the morning trip today. A mix of juveniles and sub-adults with great looks. Very playful Pacific white-sided dolphins feeding in bait with sea lions scattered around. The afternoon trip saw one juvenile gray that was rolling and playing with Pacific white-sided dolphins. It was even doing backstroke for awhile! The dolphins couldn’t decide if they wanted to swim with the whale or bow-ride with us so they went back and forth. Also saw the dolphins mating!
Friday, February 7: Seven gray whales for the seventh day of the month! All juveniles as well as a couple pods of Pacific white-sided dolphins
Thursday, February 6: Not far out of the Mission Bay Channel we encountered a couple juvenile gray whales…they were shy, so we headed west and found three adult gray whales traveling separately–all on board got good looks, and one of the whales flaked on deep dives. We were also energized by watching the antics of 200 common dolphins.
Wednesday, February 5: Terrific variety of cetaceans today! Coastal bottlenose dolphins, Pacific White-Sided dolphins, and 15 Risso’s dolphins. The whales didn’t disappoint either….great looks at two adult grays traveling south with a juvenile, followed by two more southbound juvenile whales. Also had a brief look at a pair of northbound whales….and there were more blows in the distance!
Tuesday, February 4: The gray whale southbound season is at the stage where we’re seeing mostly juveniles and yearlings. Several seen on both trips today with looks at tail flukes, barnacles, and whale lice! Also saw a couple pods of Pacific white-sided dolphins.
Monday, February 3: Seven gray whales today, most if which were juveniles and a bit tricky to get good views. But we did manage some close looks at the last whale as well as another newborn calf with its mom! They are the cutest little things and always makes the trip extra special.
Sunday, February 2: Terrific looks at five gray whales this afternoon, with an exceptional trio of whales blowing bubbles! Lots of blows in the distance as well. What an exceptional year for whale watching!! This post is from the Eclipse, and the Privateer was out this morning and afternoon as well. Definitely a fantastic year to view the migration of gray whales off the San Diego coast!