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Whale Watching Report from Hornblower for March 6–12

From the morning cruise to the afternoon cruise, whale watchers get their fill of gray whales, dolphins, and more



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The Humpbacks are here! In addition to seeing a steady flow of mostly northbound Gray Whales, we’ve seen a large number of Humpback whales off the coast along with megapods of Common Dolphins. The Humpbacks have been seen lunge feeding on large bait balls of small schooling fishes, as well as breaching, tail slapping and a whole other suite of energetic behaviors. What a week! To date, we’ve spotted 547 Grays during the current season and 98 Humpback Whales (with 94 in the past week). See our updated Sightings Reports at https://sandiegowhalewatching.com/

 

March 6, 2019

Morning Cruise

Sightings: 3 Gray Whales

We searched for Gray Whales under gray skies. Passengers from London, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and New York enjoyed seeing 3 northbound Gray Whales out at 9 Mile Bank. A fun morning on the water!

Afternoon Cruise

Sightings: 2 Gray Whales, 200 Common Dolphins

We headed for the 9 mile bank where we spotted 2 elusive Gray Whales traveling north. It was a gray, drizzly afternoon. Guests from Trinidad, London, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas joined us on the cruise. On the way back, we encountered a pod of about 200 Common Dolphins.

 

March 7, 2019

Morning Cruise

Sightings: 1 Gray Whale, 10 Humpback Whales, 20,000+ Common Dolphins

The Humpbacks are here! We spotted our first Humpback Whale in the distance and soon were surrounded by Humpbacks, a Gray Whale and thousands of Common Dolphins as far as you could see. We even watched spectacular Humpback breaches eight times! What a terrific day!

Afternoon Cruise

Sightings: 20 Humpback Whales, 2000+ Common Dolphins

We continued our Humpback filled day watching Humpback Whales fluking and breaching. Once again, the whales were accompanied by a huge megapod of Common Dolphins. This was one of our best days on the water!

 

March 8, 2019

Morning Cruise

Sightings: 8 Gray Whales, 60+ Common Dolphins

A beautiful, partly cloudy day on the ocean. Fourteen miles out we spotted 8 Gray Whales in a pod. On the way back to the bay we saw a pod of 60 Common Dolphins. Visitors from Netherlands, London, France, Mexico, as well as, the states: Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio, and South Dakota joined us this morning.

Afternoon Cruise

Sightings: 3 Gray Whales, 10 Common Dolphins

With a continuation of partly cloudy skies, breezy conditions with moderate waves, the Adventure Hornblower ventured out to the 9 mile bank area in search of whales. We first encountered a small pod of 10 Common Dolphins, which were feeding on schooling fish. Many of the guests aboard were delighted to see that behavior up close, and also the dolphins enjoying riding the bow of the ship. Guests also enjoyed seeing the Los Coronado Islands line up to appear as one big island from the 9 mile bank area. Captain Eric decided to head southward along the 9 mile bank to locate whales. We encountered and observe 2 small juvenile Gray Whales heading north when a large adult Gray Whale joined the duo. Our time out on the ocean was enjoyed by all.

 

March 9, 2019

Morning Cruise

Sightings: 3 Humpback Whales, 200+ Common Dolphins

We had a beautiful day for whale watching that was lightly overcast, but sunny. We had passengers from Canada, Japan, London, and all over the U.S. At least one passenger was celebrating a birthday and many were 1st time whale watchers. We went out about 10 miles and saw about 200 Common Dolphins feeding along with numerous birds and 3 Humpback whales. The whales showed their flukes a few times and the dolphins were jumping. It was an exciting trip for us all.

Afternoon Cruise

Sightings: 6 Gray Whales, 10 Common Dolphins

It was very bright and sunny for the afternoon cruise. We went out about 10 miles again and came across 4 northbound adult Gray Whales. We also saw 2 juvenile Gray Whales later in the trip - also northbound. There was another large group of birds feeding along with about 20-30 Common Dolphins. Additionally, we were surrounded by various blows from whales too far away to identify but presumed to be northbound Grays. Another exciting trip for everyone.

 

March 10, 2019

Morning Cruise

Sightings: 4 Gray Whales, 2 Humpback Whales, 300+ Common Dolphins

We spent extended time with 4 Gray Whales (adults) who fluked many times. They surfaced close to the boat and we were able to see them under the water. We also saw several pods of common dolphins... some of which were interacting with 2 Humpback Whales. The humpbacks swam under the boat and then popped up so close that the Captain and passengers jumped and squealed with delight.

Afternoon Cruise

Sightings: 5 Gray Whales, 3 Humpback Whales, 200+ Common Dolphins

Beautiful, calm and sunny afternoon. We saw a pod of 3 large Humpback Whales that came pretty close to the boat and showed their tail flukes. Later we saw a pod of 3 Gray Whales and then a different pod of 2 Gray Whales. Some passengers even saw a breech! We also saw about 200 Common Dolphins and a couple tuna jumping out of the water.

 

March 11, 2019

Morning Cruise

Sightings: 5 Humpback Whales, 900+ Common Dolphins

We had gray skies and no Gray Whales. We were wowed by sightings of 5 Humpback Whales that gave a good show with lots of fluking. A huge pod of about 900 Common Dolphins also surrounded the vessel.

Afternoon Cruise

Sightings: 4 Humpback Whales, 150+ Common Dolphins. 25+ Pacific White-sided Dolphins

The Hornblower left the dock and headed out to the open ocean on a cold and rainy day in search of the northbound migratory Gray Whales. Captain Rick headed west to the 9 mile bank. Along the way we encountered 25 Pacific White sided dolphins, 150 Common dolphins, a lot of bird activity and lots of spouts in the distance. When we reached the 8 mile area we came upon 2 Humpbacks that were feeding on schooling fish. We observed many unique behaviors from the Humpbacks such as peduncle/tail throws (I stopped counting after 15), fluking, head slaps (about 10 times), round-out/peduncle arch (about 30-40 times), tailslaping/lobtailing (25 plus times), huge spouts, plus it sounded like squeals coming from the whales when surfaced. And of course breaching (I stopped counting after 20 plus times). Lastly, lunge feeding which was absolutely fascinating to watch. As our time began to run out we encountered 2 more Humpbacks in the area along with several more spout sightings nearby. Today's guests, crew members and whalers on board were totally thrilled and awed by this incredible experience. Wow!!! What an "adventure" on the Hornblower Adventure!!!!

 

March 12, 2019

Morning Cruise

Sightings: 15 Humpback Whales, 5 Gray Whales, 500+ Common Dolphins

Epic, spectacular and amazing do not describe today’s experience! We saw at least 15 humpback whales of all sizes and 10 gray whales, all sizes. 3 different types of dolphin numbering over 1000, rafts of 20-30 sea lions and all the sea birds you can imagine feasting on bait fish 3 miles west of Pt. Loma.

Afternoon Cruise

Sightings: 15 Humpback Whales, 5 Gray Whales, 500+ Common Dolphins

We went out to the same location and again spotted Humpback Whales and Gray Whales. We had whales breach, spy hop, fluke, spout, tail splash, waving side fins, swimming under the boat and rubbing themselves on the boat all while being surrounded by dolphins and sea lions. The guests left the boat speechless.

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