An Amazing Fin Whale Encounter – 31/5/21

Growing up in New England whale watching meant Humpbacks! Stellwagen Bay is literally covered in them in the summer so seeing other large whales is a rare treat.

On the East Coat, Fin Whales have a reputation of being elusive and skittish around boats which is understandable with the shipping and fishing industries in their habitats.

When I moved out to San Diego where Fin Whales are a year round occurrence, it was exciting to see how different they are around here. They are curious, they move slower around boats and seem like they want us to interact with us. Not like Humpbacks, who mug your boat but till something

When we get nutrient upwellings, every whale watch is like Fin Whale soup! And it is very cool to just be surrounded by Fin Whales.

This past spring, San Diego had an incredible gathering of Fin Whales, during this recent nutrient upwelling. You couldn’t go out without seeing them, it was pretty amazing. Then two were unfortunately struck by an Australian ship (link) and it seemed like at that point the Fin Whales jut scrammed. They went off shore where the whale watching boats couldn’t get to them.

I decided to take some friends out on San Diego Whale Watch. It took most of the morning but we finally found a Fin Whale.

It was very exciting, it was a sub adult, still pretty big and definitely feeding around 9 Mile Bank. This whale had zero issues with us watching it, it just did some languid feeding circles around the bank.

Observing the whale with a hazy, gloomy San Diego behind it was pretty special, especially for my friends who hadn’t ben whale watching before. I was really happy that they got to see the second largest animal in the world.

It’s always a joy to see them in the area, and just being whales and doing what they do.


This post was adapted from a voice recording in the twenty eighth episode of the Whale Tales Podcast, listen here

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