While much of the world is covered in a blanket of snow, the only white we see in San Diego is in the waves that are created as magnificent whales breach the surf! Winter is whale watching season, as thousands of mammals from various places in the world migrate to our warm waters! From mid-December through late April the majesty of the gray whale, as well as humpback, fin, and minke whales can be spotted in the waters that surround San Diego. While it is possible to see them from the shore or on the decks of a whale watching tour boat with dozens of other like-minded whale seekers, you will have more fun viewing the show from the deck of your Carefree Boat Club vessel! This guide to San Diego whale watching and all the fun you can have as a member of the Carefree Boat Club will ensure that you never have to be stuck on the shore again.
Now Is the Time!
If you haven’t put your name on the books for your winter trips out on the water, what are you waiting for? As if there isn’t enough to do on the water, these are the prime months for whale watching, and you and your Carefree Boat Club boat can have ringside seats at the most spectacular natural activity on sea! Over 20,000 gray whales make their way to our warm waters during this time and you don’t want to be stuck watching them through a wall of glass at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. You want to be out on the boat you chose, (perhaps one of our cabin cruisers?) feeling the wind ruffle your hair and the sea breeze dampen your cheeks as you wait and watch for one of the magnificent beasts to appear. Often found swimming by Cabrillo National Monument, (Do you think they appreciate the findings Mr. Cabrillo made or are they just happy to be in warm waters once again?) spend your day zipping across the water, forever seeking the dark shapes that look much larger on top of the water than they do under the water or find a spot, drop anchor and wait. There is no wrong way to go whale watching in the winter, but you will be disappointed if you forget to try!
So Many Places to Explore While San Diego Whale Watching
Whales swim 24 hours a day and as they continue their migration to the even warmer waters of Mexico, you really won’t have to look hard to find one! As we mentioned above, the waters around Cabrillo National Monument are happy places for whales to swim, but if today feels like a La Jolla kind of day, the gray whales do enjoy the waters around Torrey Pines State Reserve as well! And as beautiful as this park is when you are hiking the trails looking out onto the sea, hoping to catch sight of whale breaching the surf, the views from the sea looking towards the Reserve (and around at the whales!) are even more magical! San Diego Bay is yet another direction in which you should turn, always keeping a vigilant eye out for the largest creatures of the sea!
How to Spot the Whales
Obviously, if the whale has breached the water, it will be almost impossible to miss the large “fish,” but how do you know if you are in the right area when they are still underwater? The mist expelled from the whale’s blowhole can reach up to 15 feet in the air, and if you spot the mist, you can probably count on the fact that the whale will be diving down for approximately 5 or 6 minutes, then will resurface for at least 3 to 5 blows. The tail of the whale (the flukes) can be seen right before it goes under, as that is what it helps dive deep and if you look very closely, you may even see the back of the whale just under the water’s surface. The most impressive whale sighting, however, is when a whale breaches, throwing itself up out of the sea and then diving back down again creating a splash that can be seen for miles and felt if you happen to be up close! (In your Carefree Boat Club boat, of course!) Once you find your whale, you can follow its progress south, watching it breach again and again and again as it makes its way to its own personal fiesta south of the border.
Have We Convinced You?
Being a Carefree Boat Club member is easy, and because it saves you money, (boat ownership is expensive and time consuming) you will have money left over for fancy vacations and nicer cars! Sign up today and start your whale watching adventures before migration time ends.