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Your Complete Guide to Whale Watching Season 2022

a whale swimming in a body of water
It is never too early to begin planning for a great adventure out on the water. You know that whale watching and sailing are activities that appeal to just about everyone, so you can map out your schedule knowing there will be supreme interest. When you plan, you can pick out the times that work best for you and your group, whether you are organizing a family activity or looking to entertain clients or employees. 

At Next Level Sailing, our entire team works to provide our customers with the best experience possible, from seeing and learning about whales to enjoying time on our well-equipped vessel. This guide will help you get started on a whale-watching adventure in San Diego. It will ensure you make the most of your excursion and get out on the water at the optimal time for both the clemency of the weather and the possibility of seeing these spectacular creatures.

When Is Whale Watching Season

The whales come to the San Diego shoreline in different waves of activity. This is all dependent upon the natural behavior of the animals, from their feeding and mating habits to their desire to have safe harborage. The whale watching season can be broken down into several time frames:

  •     Mid-December through April is the best time to see gray whales off the coast
  •     This is also an excellent time to spot a variety of marine creatures
  •     The summer months are optimal for watching blue whales
  •     July has the added allure of seeing humpback whales and fin whales
  •     November is the peak season for migrating humpbacks and even sees some killer whales

Just about any month has some whale activity off the southern California coast. If you wish to observe a particular whale species, we can inform you when that type of whale is most often seen. You can also consult our whale watching report to find out exactly what we have been seeing. The summer months offer the glorious sunny weather of the area, while the winter months often have an abundance of cetacean activity.

What Is the Best Month for Whale Watching in San Diego?

Picking the best month for whale watching is a lot like picking your favorite ice cream flavor. They are all good, just a bit different. With that being said, a case can be made for February. That is when the gray whale activity is in full swing. You will have the opportunity to see these massive mammals moving through the water and blowing their double blow horns, forming spouts in the shape of hearts.

January is a solid month, too, with the gray whales arriving from the south. Humpback whales cruise near shore at this time and dolphins are often spotted leaping into the air. December kicks off several months of stellar whale watching, with the appearance of the gray whales. Summer has blue whales, one of the most amazing animals in the world to witness.  

animal on the water

What Types of Whales Will You See

The San Diego area has a remarkable richness when it comes to whale life. Visitors on our sailing ships can see at least eight interesting whale species. Here is a rundown of the possibilities with a little information on each species:

  •     Killer whales or Orcas often hunt in pods and can sometimes be spotted in California waters
  •     Gray whales are a member of the baleen family and reach lengths of nearly 50 feet
  •     Blue whales are the largest creatures to ever live on Earth, surpassing even the dinosaurs
  •     Humpback whales like to breach the water, offering memorable displays
  •     Fin whales reach 85 feet in length and are second in size to only the blue whale
  •     The North Pacific right whale is quite rare but is a possibility on some of our trips  

Our customers also have a good chance of seeing minke whales, pilot whales and other inhabitants of the ocean. These include flying fish, sea lions, sea birds and several types of dolphins, often in pods numbering in the hundreds. Our experts on board the vessel will provide interesting information about everything you see. 

Whale Watching Tips

Our excursions leave in the late morning and run for about four hours. Be sure to dress comfortably and bring clothes that will keep you warm when you are far from shore. You can always retreat inside the cabin, but it helps to have a coat, gloves, and hat. 

Sunglasses and sunscreen come in handy, as do a camera and binoculars. Comfortable shoes will help you move around the boat safely.

We provide some light snacks for our guests, but you can also bring your food and drinks. Make sure to have plastic cups for drinking and avoid glass bottles or cups. Both red wine and smoking of any substances are prohibited on our vessel.

Expect to have a wonderful time on our boat, The Yacht America. There is always something to see, including some of the most impressive animals to ever live on our planet. Our crew is experienced and has a stellar safety record, including training in first aid.

Conserving Our Whales In 2022

Our team at Next Level Sailing is committed to protecting the environment. In 2019, we received the Sustainable Achievement Award for Overall Small company for our efforts at recycling and the use of clean energy to power our ships. 

We also realize that whales are an endangered resource, and we make sure our whale watching trips do not harm or unduly stress these inspiring animals. Our crew seeks to educate all our guests about the threats that whales face. These include ongoing whaling operations, collisions with large vessels, chemicals in the waters and even the effects of global warming.

Whale species such as the blue whale and the North Pacific right whale are limited in number. In some cases, scientists are not even sure how many exist throughout the world’s oceans. Whale conservation is one of our top priorities for the coming year.

Nearly any time of year offers exciting whale watching opportunities. Join us soon for a big adventure.