The annual migration of gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) is one of nature’s greatest spectacles. Over 26,000 of these great mammals migrate from the frigid Arctic waters to the warm water lagoons of Baja California, Mexico from December to April every year. These breeding lagoons are where whales give birth and rear their calves.
En route this 5,000-mile journey, thousands of them come very close to the San Diego coast. This makes the 70-mile coastline a favorite spot for whale-watching enthusiasts. In fact, in mid-January, visitors may be able to view a parade of a dozen whales at once! The highest count among San Diego bay cruises was about 200 whales a day.
Whale watching in San Diego is a visual treat. Gray whales usually swim at speeds of only about six miles per hour. Typically, they dive to a depth of 100 feet for about five minutes, then surface and blow. This ritual is followed by a series of shallow dives and blows before the next deep dive. Following this predictable rhythm greatly increases the chances of spotting a whale. And when these enormous mammals breach, tourists may well gasp at their agility. Imagine a 50-foot long creature executing a graceful dive!
You may opt for a San Diego harbor tour to watch gray whales from shoreline vantage points. But few experiences match up to the feeling of watching them aboard a San Diego bay cruise. Such a cruise offers you about three-and-a-half hours of whale-watching pleasure! A few cruise liners accompany environmental appreciation with live narration from expert captains and professional whalers. You also get to view marine life exhibits and historic landmarks of San Diego. Some also provide you the luxury of climate-controlled indoor seating, snack bars and souvenir stalls, all on board itself.
While selecting your cruise company, check if they offer a guarantee pass. In the off-chance that you do not sight a single whale on your cruise, you may use this pass to avail of a complimentary San Diego harbor tour or bay cruise.
Besides whale watching, San Diego offers a formidable range of other aquatic activities, placing it among the top five leisure destinations in the United States. Little surprise then that in 2010 alone, the county saw an influx of 29.9 million visitors, of which 15.1 million came overnight and 14.8 million stayed the day.
Hornblower Cruises and Events has always exceeded guest expectations by providing excellence in dining cruises, boat weddings, corporate events and hosting birthday parties on yacht rentals in San Diego.
More Watches Articles