Whale Watching

Our big event last Sunday was a Whale Watching trip.  We left from the San Diego bay around 10:00 that morning and returned around 1:30. We found seats at the front of the boat before we left.  We were in the sun so it warmed up pretty quickly and we had to ditch our jackets.

It got much cooler as the we set sail, though, and we had to bundle back up.  As we made our way through the dock, our whale watching expert gave us some history of the things we were passing.  San Diego is home to a huge Navy base that's situated right on the bay.  Here's an aircraft carrier that was parked at the base.

Goodbye, San Diego!

Our excursion director told us to watch the buoys to see if we spotted any sea lions.  Sure enough, we found some basking in the sun.

This little lighthouse was the first one built on the edge of the bay.  Except, it was too tiny and it wasn't really on the edge at all.  Since it was so far inland, boaters continued to run into the land instead of making their way around it.

So then someone smarter came along and built a real lighthouse on the very tip of the peninsula.  Ah, no more crashes.

As we left the bay area, we got really close to Tijuana.  The navigator told us to turn off our phones unless we wanted to be charged crazy high roaming fees.  We did as we were told!

When we finally made it to the open ocean, we quickly found exactly what we came looking for: some whales!

We found a group of three grey whales - two females and male.  Apparently that's how they always travel - two girls and one boy - because the boys think they're hot stuff or something.  These whales were on the final leg of their migration to Baja, California.

A fin!

Can you see the kinda blurry spot above the whale on the right in the picture above?  That's mist in the air from their blow hole.  They don't actually ever blow a spout of water out of their hole, instead they're blowing out air and some water from their lungs and water that's on top of them gets sprayed with it.  Kinda like when we sneeze.

These were the only three whales we saw, but we followed their path and were able to see them a lot.  They would stay down for about five to seven minutes before coming up for air again.  It was fun to try to guess where they'd come up next.

We were one of three boats out watching these grey whales - one was bigger than our boat and one was much smaller.  It's against the law to cross in front of their path or get too close to them, but if you're idle and they come to you that's ok.  Look how close they got to this tiny boat!

After watching the whales for awhile, we left that area and went searching for dolphins.  Along the way, we watched these guys fish for some food.

It didn't take long for our navigator to find some dolphins.  We saw this set coming towards us first.

She (the navigator) said she could see a full path of them and that the captain was going to try to move our boat into their path.  She said they'd love to swim in our wake, and she was right.  They swarmed our boat!

I think this was my favorite part of the excursion.  I mean, the whales were cool and all, but the dolphins were AWESOME!  And there were so many of them!

Can you see all of them under water in this picture?

After the dolphins left, we had to start heading back in to the bay.  Here's a shot of where we stayed.  See the cone-shaped red roof to the left of the bridge?  That and all the other red-roofed buildings are Hotel del Coronado.  It was really nice!

So, as if the whole whale watching and dolphin seeing excursion wasn't cool enough, we just happened to be there on the same day as the Centennial of Naval Aviation Parade of Flight.  And since the Navy base is right on the bay, and we were coming in through the bay, the planes flew right over us!

Here are the Blue Angels:

I have no idea what any of these other planes are, so I'll just show you the pictures.

Ok, this part was pretty cool.  Right after this plane flew by...

...we looked up to see that someone had jumped out of it right above our boat.

We watched him twirl and spin all the way down.  As he got closer we could read the SEAL on his parachute.

And whaddaya know, that little fancy pants skydiver managed to land on his feet right in front of the audience at the Navy base.  Show off.

Because of everything that was going on that day (there were events at the Navy base and on the island all day long - it was a pretty big deal) we had to be escorted through the bay by these guys.

As soon as we got off the boat and saw how crowded it was all around us, we decided to leave the island and go somewhere else.

Where'd we go?  I'll tell you soon!