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Whale Watching Report from Hornblower for April 3–9

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



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Along with Gray Whales migrating north, we’ve also encountered our first Blue Whale and Fin Whales of the season— much earlier than we normally see them. To date, we’ve spotted 630 Gray Whales during the current season and 1 Blue Whale, 11 Fin Whales, 165 Humpback Whales and 1 Minke Whale along with tens of thousands of dolphins and hundreds of California Sea Lions. See our updated Sightings Reports at https://sandiegowhalewatching.com/

 

April 3, 2019

Morning Cruise

Sightings: 50+ Bottlenose Dolphins, 50+ California Sea Lions

A sunny and calm cruise with 160 guests on board. We didn't spot any baleen whales, but enjoyed watching about 50 offshore Bottlenose Dolphins and raft of sea lions. We also spotted a Brown Booby, a seabird that is rarely spotted off our coast!

Afternoon Cruise

Sightings: 2 Gray Whales, 200+ Bottlenose Dolphins, 25+ California Sea Lions

The Adventure Hornblower headed out on a sunny afternoon and encountered several groups of offshore Bottlenose Dolphins. The offshore Bottlenose are larger than the Common and Pacific White-Sided dolphins we usually see. The dolphins were quite acrobatic leaping and swimming near the boat. Just as we were about to head in to the bay, “thar she blows!” We spotted puffs from 2 Gray Whales swimming near the Mexican Border! A nice trip, especially for all the high school students visiting colleges in the area.

 

April 4, 2019

Morning Cruise

Sightings: 400+ Common Dolphins, 25 California Sea Lions

We left the harbor with overcast skies and light rain. We traveled out to 5 miles off the coast and didn't find any whales. We did enjoy a large pod of Common Dolphins, including a nursery pod.

Afternoon Cruise

Sightings: 500+ Common Dolphins, 30 California Sea Lions

We were excited to watch a fantastic pod of Common Dolphins that stayed with the boat, jumping and surfing the bow wave.

 

April 5, 2019

Morning Cruise

Sightings: 4 Gray Whales, 200+ Common Dolphins, 20+ California Sea Lions

A cloudy morning transformed into a beautiful sunny day, We encountered about 200 Common Dolphins, and many were playing near the boat. Then we spotted 4 Gray Whales, including a cow-calf pair along with 2 other adults. Visitors from Argentina, the U.K., Germany and several U.S. States joined us for the cruise.

Afternoon Cruise

Sightings: 1000+ Common Dolphins, 10 California Sea Lions

A beautiful afternoon with dramatic clouds and calm seas. We enjoyed watching several herds of playful Common Dolphins. We spotted a whale spout, but it eluded us.

 

April 6, 2019

Morning Cruise

Sightings: 2 Fin Whales, 50+ Common Dolphins

During the morning, cruise passengers were blessed with sightings of 50 Common Dolphins and 2 Fin Whales — who have the honor of being the 2nd largest of the baleen whales. We came upon the whales toward the end of the cruise, so we weren’t able to stay too long, but long enough for everyone to get good looks and photos. Also sighted was 1 brown booby bird.

Afternoon Cruise

Sightings: 1 Blue Whale, 2 Fin Whales, 300+ Common Dolphins

Shortly after leaving the bay and heading west, we came upon a group of Common Dolphins. After some time with them, we continued west in search of the Fin Whales that were sighted in the morning. As we made our way to the 9 Mile Bank, we saw 2 Fin Whales. As we were all anxiously waiting for the one Fin Whale to surface, all of sudden we realized that we had spotted a NEW whale! It was indeed a BLUE Whale! It is quite early for the Blue Whales to be off the San Diego coast, so this was a special treat. Hopefully it is a good sign for the upcoming Blue Whale watch season this summer.

 

April 7, 2019

Morning Cruise

Sightings: 2 Gray Whales, 1 Fin Whale, 500+ Common Dolphins

We spent the early part of the cruise spotting a pod of dolphins. Then, at the 9 Mile Bank we saw the spout of a Fin Whale and all of a sudden we were surprised by a great viewing of 2 adult Gray whales long enough to see them spout 3 times.

Afternoon Cruise

Sightings: 2 Fin Whales

A warm sunny day, with calm seas, We spotted 2 Fin Whales. They were moving too fast to track and would appear at the 9 o'clock position (relative to the boat), then 10 minutes later we would spot them at 3 o'clock! This is our second day of spotting fin whales.

 

April 8, 2019

Morning Cruise

Sightings: 2 Fin Whales, 100+ Common Dolphins, 50+ Bottlenose Dolphins

We left the harbor on a beautiful sunny morning in search of some marine mammals in the wild. After a while, we came across a group of 100+ Common Dolphins who enjoyed surfing the boat’s wake and entertaining the guests with flips, rolls and swimming very near to the boat. All of the guests were excited and happy! We then encountered 2 Fin Whales that gave us some amazing views for about 45 minutes. We even got to see one of the whale’s tail flukes, which is a very rare sight for Fin Whales! We also spotted about 50 offshore Bottlenose Dolphins who gave us a wonderful show! Many of the guests got some terrific pictures and everyone was very excited! We had guests from throughout the United States, plus Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K. join us on the cruise.

Afternoon Cruise

Sightings: 2 Fin Whales, 300+ Common Dolphins, 25+ Bottlenose Dolphins, 50+ California Sea Lions

After about one hour of traveling out of the harbor and into the open ocean, we encountered a group of about 200 Common Dolphins and 50 sea lions that were feeding and enjoying themselves with flips, rollovers and jumps. The guests took many pictures and were extremely excited with these amazing views. After going out to the 9 mile bank we then came across 2 Fin Whales who gave us tremendous views for about 45 minutes. These 2 whales got so close to the boat that we could not only see, but also hear the whales breathing! On the way back to the bay, we came across a group of about 25 dolphins who entertained the guests with their swimming near and under the boat.

 

April 9, 2019

Morning Cruise

Sightings: 50 Common Dolphins

We spotted a herd of Common Dolphins as we headed out of the bay. For safety, the Captain opted to return to the bay because of wind and high sea swells.

Afternoon Cruise

Sightings: n/a

Remained in the bay due to high sea swells.

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