Every winter in excess of 25,000 Pacific gray whales make a journey of approximately thousand miles round-trip to the Baja California lagoons right from Alaska. This helps to make San Diego which can boast upwards of 80 miles of coastline the ideal place for watching whales.
Depending on several factors, the ideal time for whale watching in San Diego will be from the month of December right up to April. It would be better to wait until the summer and spring seasons for watching blue whales, however. At this time, hundreds of Blue whales are known to migrate into the waters of southern California for feeding on large quantities of krill. At that time, one can also watch Dolphins, Humpback whales, Finback whales, Minke whales, as well as other whales.
You will come across lots of whale watching kayak tours that will take you for a close-up glimpse out on the water; however, in case you like to remain dry and take everything easy, there are some fantastic ways to do whale watching in and around La Jolla, and other areas in San Diego as well.
These gray whales have the tendency of passing by the side of the western overlooks of the Cabrillo National Monument. If you can, bring binoculars along with you since they will help you see better. If you don’t have binoculars, you will come across a restricted number of binoculars at the time of the whale season right at the Visitor Center. You simply need to request them at the info desk.
Experience La Jolla
Fortunately, you will be able to watch the whales at just about any time during the daytime – they swim throughout the day.
Where to watch
Look in the direction of the ocean as well as San Diego Bay. The whales will be migrating south in the direction of mainland Mexico, so they’ll be moving to the south from the north while you watch from the park. They can be expected to move at a constant clip of around 5 miles every hour, and though several whales will be swimming close to the shoreline, the majority are going to swim in a region expanding to the horizon from the kelp beds.
Afterward, during spring, the gray whales are going to move north once again, although it will be difficult to see them from the park since they will be quite far out in the waters.
Torrey Pines State Reserve
The State Reserve which is situated on the cliffs on top of the Torrey Pines State Reserve consists of 1,800 miles of hiking trails, exotic wildlife, and Torry Pine trees. The fantastic coastal wilderness coupled with simple and family-friendly routes as well as hiking trails males a perfect dolphin or whale-watching spot for the tourists in La Jolla.
You will definitely get some action in the Beach Trail or the Razor Point Trail. A major portion of the Beach Trail hugs the beach while Razor Point is a lengthier loop that will provide you with more time on the trail. A major part of the path likewise overlooks the astounding and jagged cliffs for which the area is actually renowned.
Go for a Kayak tour
The kayak tour is quite popular given that lots of individuals have reported positive experiences when kayaking during whale watching season. It will offer you a fantastic opportunity to get personal with the whales, and safely speaking, it is the best way to come across the migration.
You will come across a number of companies at the La Jolla Shores offering some mind-boggling whale watching kayak tours on a regular basis. You will also be able to explore the 7 sea caves all along the coastline which will, of course, depend on the tour.
As per the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, the gray whales usually move alone or maybe in pods of 2 or 3 although you can see more moving together at the time of the peak migration season. Therefore, watch out for the large pods. Here, we like to inform that the length of the adult whales can be up to 45 feet and their weight can be as much as 33 tons.
What to watch out for
The spout or blow
A spout or blow is created when the warm and moist air expelled from the lungs of the whale comes in contact with the cool air on the ocean surface. The blow of a gray whale will be able to spray up to a height of 15 feet and you can see each blow for around 5 seconds.
Prior to making a deep dive, the gray whale usually displays its tail which is 12-feet wide and has the shape of a fan. The tail’s weight on top of the body of the mammal aids it in diving deep. It will be interesting to note that the fluke of the gray whale does not have any bones and connects to the tail muscles with the help of tendons.
Footprint and knuckled back
One will be able to see the back portion of a gray whale during and following the blow provided the lighting is perfect. It is usually black or gray as well as shiny. Moreover, it has got a knuckled ridge all along the spine. A footprint is the elongated and smooth oval of tranquil water where the whale has been after it has submerged into the water.
Splash and breach
On most occasions, the gray whales hurl themselves from the water and again dive back with a remarkable splash. We call this breaching. Although scientists have failed to understand the reason for the whales to do this, it is nevertheless great to watch. At times, this behavior will be copied by other whales in the area, and therefore, it will be sensible to watch out.
If you are able to spot a whale
Bear in mind that the whales are moving south, and therefore, once you are able to spot any of them, it can be expected to surface once again to the south. After you have watched any particular whale for some time, it will be feasible for you to predict its unique rhythms of dives and breaths plus where it is going to show up next.