Each year, for the past 13 years, Birch Aquarium at Scripps has teamed up with Flagship Cruises and Events for whale watching adventures in San Diego. Naturalists from Birch Aquarium narrate each of the expeditions, which happen twice daily through April 14th, 2013. Our daughter and her grandpa took one such cruise last week, and had a fun adventure.
Naturalists Enhance the Cruise
Although I did not go on the cruise myself, I waited in line with my father and daughter prior to them boarding the vessel. While in line, Naturalists from Birch Aquarium spoke with us about the gray whale migration from the Bering Sea all the way down to Baja, as well as what those on board the cruise could likely expect to see while on the whale watching expedition. I was amazed how much I learned from speaking with them for just a few minutes, and my father said the narration continued throughout the trip.
About the Experience
Aside from seeing gray whales, my father and daughter saw a seal, sea lions, dolphins, and different species of birds. The cruise was about 3 hours in length, and the boat ventured somewhere around 3 miles out to sea for this particular cruise. I was told by the Naturalists that they can normally spot gray whales closer to shore during the beginning of the season (January), and that they normally travel farther out during the mid to later part of the season.
• Gray whales migrate around 10,000 miles round-trip! One of the longest mammal migrations in the world!
• Approximately 20,000 gray whales pass through San Diego! That’s a lot of whales!
• The whales migrate to lagoons in Baja, where they rest, play, give birth, and breed.
• Gray whales eat the majority of their feed at the Bering Sea, and very little on their migration.
What To Bring
Some things you might want to plan to bring on a whale watching trip are a warm jacket, mittens, cap, camera, binoculars, and sunglasses. You likely won’t have much cell phone reception, so don’t plan on using yours much while on the boat. You can take snacks in a soft snack bag (no hard coolers), or purchase snacks and beverages on the Flagship cruise.
Where, When, & Pricing
Daily whale watching with Birch Aquarium and Flagship Cruises embark from the foot of Navy Pier, at 990 North Harbor Dr., in downtown San Diego. Cruises are from 9:45am-1:15pm, and 1:30-5:00pm, and as previously mentioned, are happening through April 14th, 2013. Easy parking is available next to the Midway, just steps away from the Navy Pier, for $10 for 10 hours, or at 5 Star Parking, at the corner of Broadway & Pacific Highway,for $12.00 for the entire day.
Whale watching cruises with Flagship range from $18.50 – $42.00. You can find a $5 off adult fare coupon (valid for up to 6 people), HERE. Reservations are recommended, and you may reserve by calling 619-234-4111, or online at this LINK. Whale sightings are guaranteed. If you do not see a whale, you ride again for free! Proceeds from the cruises help support educational programs, as well as exhibits at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Perhaps we’ll see you on a future whale watching cruise!
Birch Aquarium at Scripps:
Discount Whale Watching Through Our Affiliate
~ Go San Diego Card