The weather was perfect as we loaded the two-level boat and puttered through the harbor and out into the channel.
Catalina Island was always in sight as the captain announced the water’s depth and how far a pod of either dolphins or whales, or both, was going to be off shore.
The captain maneuvered the boat in a few different directions, but passengers on all sides had good views.
Our dolphin spotting was replete with informative and corny banter from the captain whose job is to entertain the passengers while cruising for whale and dolphin sightings. Here’s a sample: on the way back to the harbor, we came across a buoy filled with sea lions. While he gave the technical reasons on how to tell sea lions and seals apart he also found a way to get some cheap laughs.
Why does one sea lion have its nose in the air?
Because it’s from Newport Beach.
The other sea lions that look drunk and hung over, he said, were from Huntington Beach.
We didn’t see any whales that day but the cost was worthwhile. A whale watching cruise, even if only seeing dolphins, is a good activity that really does fit well with all ages. We had kids from a toddler to fourth graders, a high schooler, young adults, and my 92-year-old father-in-law.
Davey’s Locker has a calendar filled with whale and dolphin sightings and they can take place all year long.
Check here for a .pdf from NOAA to read up on the different kinds of whales and their migration patterns.
As always in Southern California, especially in November through April, wear layers. A long shirt and windbreaker or sweater may be sufficient to stay warm and dry. We went in late November and the weather was warmer than what we expected, although a storm moved in the next day.
Whale watching in So Cal is one way to learn about the oceans and get a close-up view of marine life.