There are lots of whale watching opportunities close to Oceanside, there is even a whale watching company we can walk to from our house. But since we were headed to Extraordinary Desserts after whale watching, we decided to go with San Diego Whale Watching, based out of Mission Bay. This was an excellent choice because, unlike San Diego Harbor, you are in the ocean within minutes of unmooring. Although there is no guarantee of seeing whales on a whale watching trip, it would be disappointing not to. So clearly my hopes were too high. I was completely disinterested in seeing dolphins, even though technically they are whales too. Soon after getting through a rougher patch of water were the ocean meets the harbor we were surrounded by common dolphins. And much to my surprise, it was the coolest experience. There were hundreds of dolphins in this pod, and they were excitedly surfing the wake of the boat. We continued west, everyone’s eyes on the lookout for a spout (which not only tells you there is a whale at the surface but also informs experienced whale watchers from a distance what species of whale you have encountered).
Today, miles out, at a drop-off point where whales often wait for their food source to be brought up to the surface, we spotted two fin whales. Fin whales are a type of baleen whale. They are an endangered species, it is estimated that there are less than 100,000 alive today. At almost 80 tons and between 65-80 feet long, they are the second largest mammal in the world (the largest is the blue whale). From the pictures, they look to be the same size as a dolphin, but the experience was much different. The gif was taken with my cell phone (the rest with a Canon), so at that moment when the fin whale came to the surface it was very close to where the boat was waiting. Our daughter shouted out in amazing, “it is MASSIVE!”. This is the first time I have ever seen a fin whale. We were all in awe. This trip was a reminder that we should go whale watching more often. You never know what is out there.