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2019 Summer Whale Watching Report

DateMorning CruiseNotes
09/02/19200+ Common Dolphins, 30+ Risso's DolphinsConditions were gorgeous for our last day of Summer Whale Watching. We spotted several pods of Common Dolphins along with a pod of Risso's Dolphins that were milling about giving everyone spectacular views. We even spotted a Risso's Dolphin calf. that porpoised out of the water.
09/01/19500+ Common Dolphins, 20+ Bottlenose DolphinsAlthough we searched far-and-wide, we did not spot any whales or today. Offshore, we encountered hundreds of Common Dolphins and a Bottlenose Dolphin pod.
08/31/19500+ Common Dolphins, 20+ Bottlenose DolphinsA beautiful day on the water today. Unfortunately, we did not spot any whales. We did enjoy watching a few pods of Common Dolphins and Bottlenose Dolphins.
08/30/1918 Bottlenose DolphinsA calm, quiet day on the water today. We cruised out to 9-mile-bank and spotted a few sea lions along with a small pod (12--18) of offshore Bottlenose Dolphins, including two cow/calf pairs. Some of us also spotted a flying fish. Guests joined us today from several countries including Germany, Great Britain, and South Africa.
08/26/192 Humpback Whales, 200+ Common DolphinsDeparted under clear sunny skies with light wind and 3 foot seas. We proceeded to an area 8-10 miles NW of Pt. Loma where we found multiple small pods of Common Dolphins and two Humpback Whale, a juvenile and an adult. The adult whale put on a spectacular breach very close by the boat. It also swam beneath the boat twice giving everyone onboard spectacular views. The smaller whale was milling around feeding on baitfish. Both whales gave us amazing views of their spouts, backs and tail flukes. Another amazing day on the water!
08/25/1920 Risso's Dolphins, 50 Common Dolphins, 50 Offshore Bottlenose DolphinsIt was another dolphin-filled day today with sightings of three dolphin species. At about 12 miles offshore, we spotted both Bottlenose Dolphins and rarely-seen. Risso's Dolphins including a mother-calf pair. We also found a small pod of Common Dolphins.
08/24/19500+ Common DolphinsA gorgeous sunny day on the water! While baleen whales eluded us today, we enjoyed an encounter with hundreds of Common Dolphins.
08/23/192 Humpback Whales, 25+ Common DolphinsThe 9-mile Bank was quiet today as far as marine mammals were concerned, but there was lots of Naval activity in the area. We did enjoy a good look at a juvenile Humpback Whale, and then a brief look at another, as we headed towards San Diego Bay. Additionally, we spotted a small pod of Common Dolphins. Guests were so happy to get a chance to see their first whale!
08/19/191 Humpback Whale, 2000+ Common DolphinsCould not have been a better day! Starting out under cloudy skies, the boat first encountered about 1,000 Common Dolphins jumping, leaping, and playing near the Hornblower. What fun to see so many dolphins in one area! Proceeding on, we encountered another 1,000 Common Dolphins or more feasting on a bait ball of small fish. “Where were the whales?” the international passengers wondered. And thar she blows — we spotted a juvenile Humpback Whale nearby. The boat motored closer, yet stayed at a safe distance. The whale swam among the dolphins, feeding alongside, just as calm as you please. It stayed alongside the boat for almost two hours! People from Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, England, and the US, were ecstatic to see a whale and at least 1,000 more Dolphins just about 6 miles off shore from San Diego. We will remember this day for a long time!
08/18/19500+ Common DolphinsA beautiful day at sea aboard the Adventure Hornblower. Once the marine layer blew off, everyone enjoyed a clear view spanning the San Diego skyline, the Coronados Islands and Mexico. We spotted a few pods of Common Dolphins including some accompanied by offspring, which is always fun to watch. Guests from India, Mexico, Japan, Europe and the Midwestern US joined us on the cruise.
08/17/191000+ Common DolphinsAlthough baleen whales eluded us today, the seas were filled with Common Dolphins.
08/16/191 Humpback Whale, 1000+ Common DolphinsToday we saw one Humpback Whale and 1000+ common dolphin. We went to an area 6 miles west of Pt. Loma that was teaming with sea life. We found the whale and were able to watch it for over an hour with it swimming close by the boat and even swimming beneath the boat twice. Dolphins were scattered as far as you could see in all directions. There were also sea lions and thousands of sea birds. Everyone was amazed with the day!
08/12/19300+ Common Dolphins, 40+ Bottlenose DolphinsWe enjoyed a calm day filled with dolphins on the water. We first spotted a herd of about three hundred to four hundred Common Dolphins all around the boat bringing delight to all the guests. We also encountered a pod of about 40 offshore Bottlenose Dolphins. This pod included mothers with calves. The dolphin watching was amazing and everyone enjoyed their time on the cruise.
08/11/191 Humpback Whale, 300+ Common DolphinsGray skies and calm seas were a nice backdrop to sightings of bottlenose and common dolphins from the Adventure Hornblower. We spotted roughly 300 Common Dolphins that were feeding and fun to observe with some very small dolphins alongside the larger ones. We then spent some time watching a juvenile humpback whale that stayed relatively close to the boat and breached four times to the delight of the passengers and observers
08/10/191 Humpback Whale, 1000+ Common Dolphins, 50+ Bottlenose Dolphins, 40+ Risso's DolphinsThe offshore area was alive with Common Dolphins today. We saw over 1000 during the trip. There were pods in every direction from the boat all day long. Near the end of the trip we found an area with offshore Bottlenose Dolphins and Risso’s Dolphins. There were about 40-50 of each of these dolphins. The bottlenose had calves swimming next to many of the mothers. The Risso’s dolphins were swimming next to the boat giving us spectacular views. We ended the trip with a juvenile Humpback Whale feeding with a pod of common dolphins. The whale surfaced on both sides of the boat and everyone got amazing views. An amazing day of whale and dolphin watching!
08/09/191000+ Common Dolphins, 20+ Risso's DolphinA nice time on the water with large pods of Common Dolphins along with more rarely seen Risso's Dolphins.
08/05/19200+ Common Dolphins, 1 Mola mola, 1 Hammerhead SharkThis morning started with a gray marine layer, which did not clear beyond 2-3 miles offshore during the cruise. Captain Eric took us mostly due west to the 9-mile bank. Along the way, we encountered several pods of Common Dolphins including a number of juvenile animals, which delighted guests with their acrobatic high jumps. Near the turn-around point of the cruise, we spotted a Hammerhead Shark at the surface, which remained long enough to approach closely before it swam off. Nearby, we also spotted a medium-sized Mola Mola briefly at the surface. More Common Dolphins raced toward us as we made our way back to San Diego Bay.
08/04/191 Minke Whale, 200+ Common DolphinsAbout 100 Common Dolphins greeted our boat on our way to the 9 mile bank. We also saw a small shark (possibly a Thresher). We then watched another pod of dolphins for a while and then spotted a Minke whale. The whale surfaced a few times near the boat giving most guests a look at this small , baleen whale On our way back a flying fish was seen as well as two more small sharks and, of course, more dolphins!
08/03/193 OrcasOrca alert! We spotted 3 adult Orcas (Killer Whales) about 10-12 miles offshore, a rare sight off Southern California. The one male whale (with his characteristic tall dorsal fin) and two females remained close to the boat crossing in front and even swimming under the boat. The Killer Whales were feeding near a herd of Common Dolphins. Everyone on board was amazed and thrilled with the experience today!
08/02/191000+ Common DolphinsWe enjoyed a beautiful day on the water surrounded by more than a thousand Common Dolphins. We also spotted a couple of Mola molas (ocean sunfish).
07/29/191000+ Common Dolphins, 6 Risso's DolphinsA cloudy, cool morning with very smooth, calm sea. While there were no baleen whale sightings, we did see three large pods of Common Dolphins with several hundred dolphins in each pod. At the 9 mile marker we found six very large Risso's Dolphins which were all swimming at the surface together. We also saw one medium sized Mola Mola, sunfish and several California sea lions in the deeper water.
07/28/191 Minke Whale, 1000+ Common DolphinsWe departed under overcast skies with calm winds and seas 1-3 ft. for the morning whale watching cruise. Today we saw one Minke whale and a megapod of over 1000 Common Dolphins. The dolphins were the first mammals spotted. They were everywhere as far as you could see and all the guests had a wonderful time looking at them. We then watched a friendly Minke Whale for about 30 minutes. The whale would swim beneath the boat and come up on one side and then the other so that all the guests were able to see it. At one time it was riding the bow wave of the boat just like a dolphin!
07/27/19300+ Common Dolphins, 20 Bottlenose DolphinsA truly nice day on the water - sun, some clouds, cooling breezes and lots of Dolphins! The Hornblower encountered three different groups of Common Dolphins jumping, diving, and playing in the boat’s wake to the delight and squeals of passengers from as far away as China, Germany, Hawaii, and other corners of the USA. Whales, however, eluded the watchers. Because we saw both Bottlenose and Common Dolphins on the same day, it was easy to see some of the differences - the much larger Bottlenose compared to the smaller, more active Commons.
07/26/190 whalesAlthough we searched far-and-wide, baleen whales eluded us today.
07/22/1925+ Common DolphinsThe Adventure Hornblower left the bay under partly cloudy skies and headed southward. We went out to the 9 Mile Bank in search of Blue Whales. Along the way we spotted about 25 Common Dolphins, which guests on board loved seeing. After arriving in the 9 Mile Bank area we searched the waters wide and far, however, Blue Whales eluded us.
07/21/192 Blue Whales, 1 Gray Whale, 250+ Common DolphinsNot long after leaving the dock, we watched an Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin being trained by the Navy in San Diego Bay. Shortly after, we passed the USS Nimitz, as it was heading to its dock. Out on the water, we came across a pod of approximately 250 Common Dolphins. Two Blue Whales were then spotted. One was quite a ways off, and we got a few fairly good looks at the other. When heading back to the dock, we spotted a juvenile Gray Whale in the bay (a very unusual sight for this time of year).
07/20/1950+ Common Dolphins, 50+ Bottlenose DolphinsCaptain Chad took us about 12 miles offshore where we spotted 2 dolphin species- Bottlenose Dolphins and Common Dolphins.
07/19/191 Blue Whale, 1 Minke Whale, 500+ Common Dolphins, 1 Mola molaA great day out on the Pacific! We had amazing views of Common Dolphins with large pods that included females with young calves at their sides. Our baleen whale sightings were incredible too! A young Minke Whale stayed in sight, close to the boat, giving us views of its white sides and the white on its flippers (called "Minke Mittens"). We also briefly spotted a Blue Whale, before having to head back in to the dock. Passengers from all over the United States and from China, Belgium, Switzerland, Thailand, and Germany joined us on our cruise.
07/15/191 Humpback Whale, 1 Minke Whale, 500+ Common Dolphins, 25+ Bottlenose Dolphins, 1 Mola molaWe had a very lucky day with sightings of a juvenile Humpback Whale feeding and doing a bit of bubble netting around several bait balls of schooling fish. We also spotted a Minke Whale amidst a pod of Common Dolphins that were slap hunting — guests thought they were applauding. A highlight today was a pod of offshore Bottlenose Dolphins that included "Patches," a famous West Coast dolphin! Patches is named for the patchy black and white coloration of his skin. We don't often see Patches and are always excited when we do. We rounded out our sightings of a Mola mola fish and diving sea birds, including a Brown Booby bird.
07/14/191000+ Common Dolphins, 10 Bottlenose Dolphins, 3 Mola molasWe enjoyed a beautiful day on the water filled with dolphins and other sea life! We spotted both Common and Bottlenose Dolphins along with a few Mola mola fish, a scattering of flying fish and even a couple sharks.
07/13/191 Humpback Whale, 400+ Common Dolphins, 12 Bottlenone Dolphins, 3 Mola molasSea life was abundant today with sightings of a juvenile Humpback Whale, the same one we’ve seen for the past few weeks, along with hundreds of Common Dolphins and 12 Bottlenose Dolphins. We also spotted 3 Mola Molas.
07/12/191 Minke Whale, 2,000+ Common Dolphins, 25 Risso's DolphinsBest Day Ever!!!! This was how we felt after leaving the cruise today. We got to be a part of a large feeding pod of Common Dolphins. I can only describe it as they were charging along in a large line and we got to be a part of it. The sound was amazing and they would surge all together as one to pursue their prey. This was just after we got to see a pod of Risso's dolphins which numbered about 25. They are one of the larger dolphin species in our area and not one we commonly see. We experienced all this amazingness at the 9-mile Bank. Earlier in our cruise we encountered a shy Minke Whale. We all left the cruise today realizing we had experienced a really special day out on the water.
07/08/192 Blue Whales, 500+ Common DolphinsAn overcast start of the day turned into a bright, sunny mid-morning for our guests from several areas of the U.S.A., as well as Baja California, Mexico. On our way out to look for whales we encountered dolphins on several occasions. And finally, toward the end of our time, offshore we saw two Blue Whales surface. Their tall blows caught the eyes of many passengers. It was a good day to be out on the water!
07/07/191 Humpback Whale, 1 Minke Whale, 300+ Common Dolphins, 1 Mola mola (ocean sunfish)Wonderful guests from all over today! Cruise started out with very little happening on or in the ocean then we started noticing lots of sea birds diving into the water, followed by a medium size pod of dolphin and even sea lions feasting on a bait ball. We headed north - about six miles off the coast of Pacific Beach - and saw more bird activity followed by a larger pod of dolphins. Then we saw a juvenile Humpback and a Minke whale closer to land. By the time we got closer, the Minke was gone but we followed the Humpback for about a half hour. At times, the sea was filled with pelicans, terns, cormorants, gulls, shearwaters, hundreds of common dolphin and the Humpback - all enjoying the large schools of very small fish (sardines perhaps?). Eventually we had to head back to land, but not without passing a Mola Mola on the way in. A very exciting day on the water with Captain Rick.
07/06/193 Minke Whales, 500+ Common Dolphins, 12 Pacific White-sided Dolphins, 2 Bottlenose Dolphins, 1 Mola mola (ocean sunfish)Passengers from India, Saudi Arabia, Austria, Arizona, Ohio, Illinois, Florida, Canada, China, and Taiwan joined us on the cruise. We spotted 3 Minke Whales, 500 Common Dolphins, 2 Bottle nose Dolphins, 12 Pacific White-sided Dolphins and 1 Mola mola fish. The seas were calm today.
07/05/191000+ Common DolphinsWe spotted a mega pod of 1,000 Common Dolphins were seen feeding on bait fish in a feeding frenzy with seabirds. The dolphins were also leaping and bow riding. We also observed dolphin courtship behavior as well as a nursery pod with cow/calf pairings and juveniles. The ocean was calm and beautiful.
07/01/191 Blue Whale, 500+ Common Dolphins, 50+ Bottlenose Dolphins, Brown Booby and Masked Booby (seabirds)What an excellent Whale Watching Day! Guests from India, UK, French-speaking Canada, and all over the US were amazed to see so many dolphins. We encountered the dolphins in groups of 10s, then 100s- the boat was surrounded by dolphins jumping and surfing in the boat’s bow wave. We also spotted a brown booby and a masked booby (both are offshore seabirds). The whales were elusive until Captain Rick spotted several blows in the distance. The Adventure Hornblower approached slowly to encounter a Blue Whale! It was visible from almost all sides of the boat, even coming close enough so visitors could hear the whale blowing! What a nice sunny way to start off July!
06/30/191 Minke Whale, 300+ Common DolphinsOur cruise started out with a fairly flat ocean and blue skies. We encountered pods of Common Dolphins feeding under diving sea birds. Some of the dolphins, came over to bow ride with the Adventure Hornblower. We also had a brief glimpse of an adult Minke whale that was also swimming amidst the dolphins. Visitors from a good section of Midwest and some French Canadians were aboard today.
06/29/19500+ Common DolphinsA calm ocean surface and no wind made for a smooth cruise this morning. While the baleen whales were elusive today, our guests from around the world enjoyed watching “hundreds and hundreds” of Common Dolphins
06/28/191 Humpback Whale, 700+ Common DolphinsWe sailed out of the bay under cloudy skies and headed southward then began our journey westward toward the 9 mile bank in search of Blue Whales. We encountered a pod of 100 Common Dolphins at mile 2 and that is when we saw a distinct blow of a Humpback about a mile away and decided to investigate. As we headed north we encountered a lot of bird activity on the water along with estimated pod of another 300 Common Dolphins. Then, the cry of "There She Blows!!" was heard all over the boat. We discovered a juvenile Humpback (about 32 feet long) feeding on fish from a bait ball of herring, mackerel and maybe anchovies. Guests were enthralled with hearing the Humpback spout and breathe which is something that one remembers in their memory forever! The juvenile Humpback stayed about 100-200 yards close to the boat and we followed the whale for a couple miles. It was amazing to see the whale zig zag all around the boat. Guests were able to catch a couple of tail flukes. Towards the end of our viewing, guests actually saw a very unique behavior where 2 Common Dolphins seem accompanied the Humpback while it ate its way through the mass of food that was present. Captain Rick decided to head further out to the 10 mile bank and we encountered another pod of about 300 more Common Dolphins which included a couple calves along with a couple of sea lions. A great day for guests aboard the Adventure Hornblower!!
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