Whale Watching Season is Here!

By Audrey Evans, Whale Watching Coordinator

How many miles have you traveled in 2013? 100? 1000? 5000? How about 10,000? That’s how far an Eastern Gray Whale travels each year on average. Without the aid of planes, trains, or cars – just whale tail power – these travelers make their annual round-trip trek from feeding grounds in the Arctic to overwintering breeding grounds off Baja California, Mexico. gray

While December is certainly a popular month to visit family and friends, San Diegans can skip the airport and get a glimpse of these marine giants practically right in their own backyards. As many locals know, winter is the best time for whale watching and now is the time we begin to see these coastal migrators on the southbound leg of their journey. As always, Birch Aquarium is in on the action as we collaborate with Flagship Cruises and Events on our 14th season of whale watching together to get you out on the open ocean and looking for whales.

gray whale tail

Last season, our program guests aboard Flagship’s Marietta observed a total of 570 gray whales, 40 fin whales, 19 minke whales, 18 humpbacks and 5 blue whales. Statistically speaking therefore, we averaged nearly six whales a day and that doesn’t even count the tens of thousands of dolphins darting around the boat and flaunting their acrobatic skills throughout the season!

Common dolphin spotted during last season's Whale Watching Expeditions

Join Birch Aquarium naturalists and Flagship Cruises & Events December 26 through April 13. Cruises are twice daily and leave from Flagship Cruises & Events (990 North Harbor Drive). You can download a coupon for $5 off at Birch Aquarium’s website. Whether you are visiting San Diego or you’re a local, you don’t need to travel far from the city to witness one of the largest mammal migrations on our planet!

gray whale rostrum


Happy Whale Watching!

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Scripps Institution of Oceanography UC San Diego