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Escape to San Diego for the Holidays

By: San Diego Boat Tours

Whale Watching Times

It is possible to see a whale anytime of the day since they migrate 24 hours a day, but it is easier to see them when the water is calmer. Remember, they are swimming at a speed of about 4-5 knots from north to south and are generally 3 to 5 miles offshore. 

Whale Watching - What to look for

The "Blow" or "Spout" is around 15 feet in height and is visible for several seconds. The whale will do 3 to 5 blows about 30 - 50 seconds apart and then dive deep for 3 - 6 minutes. They then repeat this cycle.

Before making the deep dive the whale may display it's fluke. The fluke is fairly large (around 12 feet) and it helps push the whale under water. It close enough you may also notice a knuckled ridge along the spine and the gray color of the skin. After a whale submerges you will notice a "footprint" - a section of calm water where the whale has been.

Sometimes, if you are very lucky, you will see a whale breach. This is when they hurl themselves out of the water and then come splashing down again.

Whales - What's Special

Each year thousands of California Gray Whales make the long trek from their feeding grounds in the nutrient rich arctic waters to caving grounds in Baja, Mexico. The migration of approximately 10,000 km is thought to be the longest migration of any mammal.

The whales can reach a length of 52ft, a weight of 36 tons and an age of 60 years. The California Gray Whale for as large as they seem to us, is just a mid size whale. They get their name both from the gray slate color of their skin as well as from the gray-white patterns left by parasites. The California Gray Whale is classified as a baleen whale because it filters its food out from large quantities of sea water.

Lately we have been very luck to have both Gray Whales during their migration in the winter months as well as Blue Whales which are there for the summer months. The Blue Whales are the largest creatures to ever lived on out planet.

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