For the last few years, San Diego has been a popular spot for humpback whales to come to. The whales travel this long southern route up the California coast, because they mate and nurse their young in warm, temperate waters along the coast. In summer, the whales travel up the Mexican beach on their way to the warmer waters off the Pacific. For this reason, humpback whales are rarely seen off the west side of San Diego, although you can sometimes see them traveling along the Mexican beach. If you love whales scuba diving, you will want to take advantage of whales visiting the coastal waters off San Diego.
For a little background, humpback and sperm whales are among one of the most common species on Earth. It is a very broad category, and includes not only whales but dolphins and porpoises as well. They are all part of the Delphinidae family, which includes a large number of mammal species including whales and dolphins. The name “whale” comes from the fact that these animals are bottom-dwelling mammals with elongated bodies, and they are usually reddish-brown or gray in color. The term “humpback” came about because of the humpback whales’ famous dorsal stripe, which is also present on other large marine mammals such as dolphins and whales.
There are several places in and around San Diego where whales can be seen. For example, whales can be found frequently off the west coast of the San Diego area. These whales are likely to travel up the Pacific Coast, but they are not uncommon off the Southern California beaches as well. Another good place to look for whales is off the coast of La Jolla, near the Southern California coastline. These are the same whales that frequently come up the Coast of Los Angeles.
As is true with any other animal species, whales tend to avoid humans when possible, especially when they are surfaced and likely to be seen above the surface. This means that although you may be able to see a whale from a distance, you are not likely to ever see one up close unless you are on a whale watching tour, or are scuba diving in the sea around La Jolla. In this case, you may find whales humping against the rock face, or perhaps moving along at the surface. However, whales do spend most of their time away from the surface as they hunt for food, so you will not likely find them unless you are on a whale watching tour and are diving in the ocean. If you are in the mood to photograph the incredible aerial views of whales, the Pacific Ocean offers some prime spots with plenty of sea life and interesting coral formations.
There are a number of places that you can see whales when in San Diego, but seeing whales from the air is often a more interesting experience. Two places that are particularly popular with divers who like to see whales are Sea World and the Wild Animal Park. A quick trip out to the Wild Animal Park gives you a chance to feed the native animals, and you might even get the opportunity to take a look at the latest exhibits in whale conservation. The Oceans Institute in Encinitas also has programs that allow visitors to go whale watching from the air, and it is easy to reach with the help of public transportation. The Wild Animal Park is also another great option for a whale watching adventure, as you will not only see the whales up close, but you will be able to feed them and pet them as you would in a natural environment.
For those curious about the history of the whales in San Diego, the Sea World offers historical exhibits that tell the full story of whaling in the past. For example, the original whaler took to the sea at the end of the 19th century with the aim of catching the biggest fish. Today, you can still find items from that era all over the park, including a replica of one of the ships used to send in the whales. Of course, no visit to San Diego would be complete without taking in a show, and the Balboa Park has several shows featuring different species of whales. In fact, whales are so popular in San Diego that the showbusiness district is known as the “Whale City.”