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The Whales We See

A Month by Month Breakdown


List of Species

  • Common Dolphins by the hundreds to thousands

  • Bottlenose Dolphins

  • Pacific White-Sided Dolphins

  • Risso's Dolphins

  • Blue Whales

  • Gray Whales

  • Humpback Whales

  • Fin Whales

  • Minke Whales

  • Bryde's Whales

  • Beaked Whales*

  • Sei Whales**

  • Killer Whales*

  • False Killer Whales*

  • Pilot Whales**

  • Sperm Whales**

*Rare Species usually seen 5 times a year or less

** Exceptionally rare species encountered once every few years.

Seasonal Peaks

  • Year Round- Southern California has arguably the most dolphins of anywhere on earth. We have about a 95-98% chance of encountering dolphins on every trip

  • Jan-March- Peak Gray Whale season with 20,000 Gray Whales migrating along the California Coast 

  • March-May- Transition Months with lots of variety. Gray, Fin, Humpback, and even Blue Whales possible

  • May 20th-July 20th- This has been the peak Blue Whale season in San Diego the past 4 years, with June having been the best month. Blue Whale numbers and timing do fluctuate year to year 

  • July-Sep- Blue, Fin, Humpback, and Bryde's Whales all possible

  • October-December- Calmest seas and prime Humpback season is October to mid December. Exotic species also more typical in the fall. Gray Whales begin arriving around Christmas 

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