Diego Goes Whale Watching with Birch Aquarium

EDITOR’S NOTE: Diego Cicero is a High Tech High Media Arts student who recently participated in a month-long internship at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. The program is designed to foster personal growth and help students acquire workplace skills in a real-world environment. Diego assisted the aquarium’s education programs and blogged about his experiences.

By Diego Cicero, High Tech High intern

The whale watching boat, Flagship Cruises & Events’ Marietta, took off from San Diego Harbor at 9:45 a.m. It was smooth sailing as we exited into the open sea. Our naturalists Chris and Art spent most of the time narrating from the boat’s speaker system. Leaving the harbor, they talked about the history of the harbor and the various animals we saw—seals, seagulls, and even a couple common dolphins. Some of the guests mistook large seaweed floats for seals.

When we were finally in the open ocean, the boat slowed at the sighting of some smooth-looking water, which is an indicator that a whale is about to surface. The crowd awaited the whale with much anticipation; everyone readied their cameras. The whale surfaced and blew mist in the air. People raced to snap pictures of the whale as it emerged out of the water. Then it surfaced again, this time exposing its tail. When a whale exposes its tail before it dives under, the next time they will surface is anywhere from 3-5 minutes.

I got a chance to interview one of the Birch Aquarium at Scripps whale naturalists and take some footage of our boat’s whale sightings.

As we returned from the trip, some more common dolphins appeared on our starboard side to give us one last farewell. It was a very excellent way to spend a day, and as they say, “all’s whale that ends whale.”

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Scripps Institution of Oceanography UC San Diego