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Experienced Whale Watcher? Items You Should Have in Your Bag

a group of people on a boat in the water

Whale watching is one of the great seasonal attractions in the San Diego area. If you have gone before or traveled to other locations to see whales, there are a few must-have items to ensure you get the most out of your trip. If you’re new to spotting migrating whales, take a tip from the experts and pack these essentials.

1. Polarized Sunglasses & Binoculars

Being out on the open water is like being in the middle of a giant reflector dish, so sunglasses are a must to ensure you can see everything. On bright days, polarized glasses protect you from UV exposure that can harm the eyes and regular light that can make it hard to see. Pair them with binoculars to get a great view while whale watching, even if you’re not right on top of the action. You might even be the first to spot them if you have a set with good magnification.

2. Sunscreen & Warm Clothes

That giant reflector dish effect from the open ocean winds up being an all-over sun exposure accelerant. Sunscreen is just as important as sunglasses if you want to stay comfortable during and after your trip. Despite all the bright light, it can get chilly though. With nothing to block the wind coming across the water, you should ensure you have a good jacket or coat and other warm clothes. The further you get from shore, the more likely you will notice a little chill.

a small boat in a body of water with a mountain in the background

3. Camera/Cell Phone

You can see once-in-a-lifetime sights if you travel for whale watching in San Diego, so you’ll want to be able to preserve the memories, especially if you are bringing the whole family. A cell phone with a good camera is a good starting place, but many adventurers opt for something more specific to the occasion. You’ll find other whale watchers with disposable cameras in case something happens. Still, experienced spotters tend to bring dedicated digital cameras with zoom lenses that let them capture the action as they watch whales travel and play.

4. Water, Snacks & Ginger Chews

You will be surrounded by water, but none of it is drinkable. That means you’ll want to bring your own and at least a full-liter bottle per group member. These tours are a couple of hours or more, so it’s always good to be prepared, especially if the day turns hot. Snacks are another must-have for longer tours and an excellent idea for shorter ones because you will probably be on your feet a lot as you look for whales, and a good snack will help keep your energy up.

One of the most overlooked preparation steps is ginger chews, which help to settle your stomach if you wind up feeling any nausea from the motion of the waves while the vessel is traveling. This is an excellent idea for those traveling with kids.

a group of people in a boat on a body of water

5. Field Guide

Understanding what you see and what different behaviors mean can enrich your experience out on the water. In addition to whales, you might see other fish near the surface or even pods of dolphins as they go about their day. Being able to double-check those sightings on the fly means getting a better understanding of the whole experience. On top of that, a good field guide can give you talking points that let you open an educational discussion with other people in your group, so this is a definite must-have for parents. To learn more about what to expect, search whale watching near me while you’re in San Diego to get the contact information for top tours in the area.