The 6-hr Harbor Breeze Cruise whale watching tour began with several coastal Bottlenose Dolphins within the Long Beach harbor area – there was even one calf among the group.
After enjoying our encounter with the Bottlenose, we headed for Santa Catalina Island where Blue Whales had been seen on previous trips. We passed 2 large pods of our expected dolphins in southern California – Common Dolphins.
They looked to be hunting as they seemed to ignore the boat, but a few still made passes near the boat. As we neared the island, the captain and a few others aboard saw a large whale in the distance briefly surface. We had our Blue Whale!
While we were waiting for the Blue Whale to surface, we also saw a Mola mola! It had its dorsal fin fairly stiff at the surface so we thought it was a shark at first, but it started doing the typical floppy sunfish behavior as we got close.
This appeared to be a young individual, despite the animal’s already seemingly massive size! Another Blue Whale had showed up in the area about 20 minutes into our encounter with the first, and we were going to try looking for this individual.
However, there were some police boats undergoing some sort of target practice nearby and asked us to leave. Hopefully they didn’t miss the large whale surfacing not too far from them.
As we circled around San Clemente Island and eventually headed back to the harbor, we didn’t see anymore whales. However, we got to see many more Common Dolphin pods, and these pods were showing off their aerial acrobatics more than our first pods of the day.
What a great way to end this special trip!