“The world seems pretty boring until you stop to think that there are 90ft long, 300,000 pound animals that swim around singing sad songs” -@Rhonda_doy
Surfing dolphins, taken in Baja California
Although it doesn’t feel like it, the winter months are here and we become aware that living in California we are in the paths of migrations that have been taking place for centuries. Not just the Monarchs who fly through the canyons, but the migration of 90–foot long, 300,000 pound mammals as well. To see the latter, I recommend embarking on a field trip an hour or so south to Orange County, or the OC, as it has become known in song and steamy teen dramas.
My recommendation to watch those 150 ton whales is an outfit with a very morbid name, Davey’s Locker. Davey’s Locker has two to four cruises per day, depending on the season, and leaves from the edge of the Newport Beach’s Balboa Fun Zone, an amusement park that has been around since 1936 (and it looks it too).
The 2 to 2.5 hour cruise begins by moving off the Balboa Peninsula where you can see gulls, pelicans, and other seabirds hanging out on yachts. (I am sure much to the dismay of the owners.) The boat moves slowly out past the buoys, a layover point for lazy sea lions, on its way toward Catalina Island. The second floor of the boat gets a bit crowded since it has the best vantage point for possible glimpses of sea life, which can include pods of dolphins if you take an early morning trip. It is a very calming ride venturing out into the quiet sea, the only sounds coming from the captain’s microphone to alert you to what you are about to see.
We were lucky on my journey out into the Pacific. After noticing a spout way out on the horizon we began closing in on a Fin Whale, which is one of the largest and fastest whales in the ocean. We followed it for quite some time, but it out–swam us at every turn. We would see a random spout and dorsal fin as it dove deeper towards the ocean floor.
Whale watching isn’t just a Winter thing in Southern California. You can be sea life paparazzi all year long.
Where: Newport Beach
When: All year round. Check website for times and dates.
Ages: All. Not for the sea sick. Coming back to shore is is more rocky than going out.
Cost: $2.50 for toddlers and up to $36 for adults. There are Senior rates and I often see sale prices on Groupon and Living Social.