A Whale Watching Adventure with Pacific Nature Tours
This last Sunday, I went on my first whale watching excursion with Pacific Nature Tours. Having grown up in San Diego, it’s a little shocking I had never gone whale watching, even though I had always wanted to. So, when I was invited to go on the 4.5 hour tour with Pacific Nature Tours, I was ecstatic!
At first I was concerned that 4.5 hours on a boat looking for whales could be slightly dull for my young, often over-stimulated mind. I had my IPhone by my side just in case I needed to kill a little time with a game of Candy Crush. As the tour began and the boat cruised out of the harbor, I realized there was no need for an electronic distraction and started to understand why whale watching is one of the most popular things to do in San Diego. We quickly caught site of a few sunbathing sea lions, barking and lounging on a nearby fishing dock. We also saw an array of seabirds before we reached the ocean including brown pelicans, cormorants and seagulls. The tour narrator knew interesting facts about each species, and the nature lover in me awoke.
As we cruised out of the harbor, we enjoyed interesting information about the local San Diego neighborhoods and took a quick tour of the vessel. We wandered up to the bow to feel the wind in our hair and stop for a photo op as we started our San Diego whale watching adventure. The freedom to move around the boat is what kept things interesting during lulls between sea life spotting.
We trolled around and came across a number of mola mola, also know as the ocean sunfish. These interesting fish look like a bobbing fin from a distance, but once the boat got closer, we could see their massive bodies and interesting form. The mola molas are the largest bony fish in the world and we were lucky enough to come across three of them!
As we continued our journey, we began to socialize with the other San Diego whale watching fans. Inside the boat's cabin, a friendly staff member was serving drinks and snacks as well as good humor to all of us looking to take a break from the wind and warm up for a few minutes. During our lunch break of complimentary homemade clam chowder, we saw our first marine mammals.
We immediately ran to the bow and watched as a huge pod of bottle nose dolphins began interacting with the boat and passengers. My guest and I were lucky enough to get spots at the very front of the boat and one of the crew told us to lie down on the railing for a better view. We soon realized, we had the best spot on the boat! We looked down at the front of the vessel powering through the water only to find anywhere from two to ten dolphins swimming in the wake below. They would occasionally turn sideways and give us a glance. One dolphin in particular, decided I needed a quick shower. So, after a sideways glance he (or she) swam ahead of the boat, jumped into the air and gave me a good splash. This happened three of four times and was definitely the highlight of the trip. It was amazing to interact with these playful animals and watch as they would leap out of the water and seem just as intrigued by us as we were of them. Our captain circled back a few times so we could continue to play with the dolphins, all the while feeding us information about their anatomy and characteristics.
Although, we didn’t get to see any whales on this trip, the dolphins, incredible crew of Pacific Nature Tours and social environment made for a memorable and exciting San Diego whale watching experience. Since we didn’t see a whale, we were given a voucher for 50% off our next excursion. Pacific Nature Tours turned out to be a great way to spend a Sunday morning and by the time the tour was over, I didn’t want to get off the boat. After this incredible experience, I cannot wait to book my next adventure with Pacific Nature Tours, the 8-hour tour to the Coronado Islands!
Book online at www.pacificnaturetours.com Or call: 619-534-9249
Office Hours: 9am - 4pm everyday
Pacific Nature Tours Summer Pricing:
8 Hour Tour: $140
4.5 Hour Tour for Adults: $63
4.5 Hour Tour for Kids: $55
Photo credit: Lauren Zerweck