Whale watching

On previous trips to California we have seen whales from a distance. One time we watched them out at sea, with the occasional spout, sometimes a fin and occasionally a tail fluke. Later, from Point Lobos, we had a closer view of a whale in Monterey Bay, including the elusive tail fluke.

It will give you an idea of how far away it was that – despite using a long lens – the resulting photograph was one of those infamous ‘that spot there is a whale’ type of holiday snap.

Blue whale

Blue Whale – largest animal ever known to have inhabited this earth

We resolved, therefore, that one of our trips to California should include a whale watching trip that would take us closer to these magnificent animals.

As we sat on the boat heading out of Dana Point harbour, the captain made it quite clear that we might not be lucky with an actual whale encounter.

It’s like heading out in a Land Rover on the Masai Mara. You never know what you will see, or if you will even get to see cheetahs, lion and leopard.


Dolphins seem to be keen on people-watching

It was a beautiful day of blue skies and sparkling seas, so we just settled back to enjoy the boat trip, with fingers crossed that we might be in luck.

It was not long before the cry went up that we had, indeed struck it lucky with our first blue whale.

At up to 32.9 metres long and weighing in at an amazing 172 tonnes, blue whales are the largest animal ever known to have inhabited this earth. The naturalist on the boat informed us that their hearts are the size of a Volkswagen beetle.

It really was quite awe-inspiring to have this huge, monstrous animal swimming alongside our vessel. Then the cry went up that a second blue whale had been spotted.

We spent quite some time with the captain following the whales and as a fantastic finale, one of the blue whales performed the elusive tail fluke. Particularly elusive, we were told, for a blue whale. Apparently they do not often perform the classic tail flip. We were honoured.

Blue Whale fluke
Honoured - blue whales are apparently not prolific tail flukers

Well satisfied with the blue whale, our boat turned north and spent some time in the midst of a huge school of dolphins. As always, it seemed that the dolphins were as keen on people-spotting as we were on dolphin-spotting.

They put on a magnificent display for us, swimming alongside the boat and jumping, apparently just for the fun of it.

  • We went with Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari. It cost $55 for adults, but we felt it was money very well spent. While the trips take place year round check out the best time of year for the whales. We went in September, which is in the Blue Whale season.
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