Santa Barbara is in an excellent location for whale watching. Our city is on a southern facing coast and sheltered behind the Channel Islands. It offers us a fabulous opportunity to witness the migration of the gray whales, as well as spot other species of the large marine mammals. Over 27 different types of whales and dolphins inhabit the Santa Barbara Channel at various times of the year, making these waters one of the best whale watching areas in the world.

There are two windows of opportunity to see whales around Santa Barbara. During February, March and early April you can see California Grey Whales. From May to September you can see Blue Whales, Minke Whales and Humpback Whales. Occasionally, you can see Right Whales or Orcas. All season long you have an excellent chance of seeing dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions.

Captain Jack's Whale Watching Tours

Year Round Whale Watching - The “Wonders of Our National Parks” on the Discovery Channel highlighted the outstanding abundance of marine life in the Santa Barbara Channel and named it “One of the 10 Best Places in the World to View Wildlife.” The Channel Islands are on the migration path of the California Gray Whale. The islands offer an opportunity to watch the whales on their way to Baja where they give birth, and then again as they migrate north with their babies. More than 30 species of whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions frequent the area, including the majestic blue whale, the acrobatic humpback whale, the barnacled gray whale, the powerful orca, the playful long-beaked common dolphin and the gregarious California sea lion. This 4 1/2 hour trip takes place on a 75-foot catamaran with beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks available for purchase. Schedule Departs 10:00 am Returns 2:30 pm. Typically lasts 4.5 hours.
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Whale Watching Tips

There is only one way to see the whales and that's to get on a boat to go where they are. It is truly incredible to see one of these magnificent creatures breaching - where they haul their mega-ton bodies high above the ocean surface. The size! The strength! As the veterans of a more than few whale watches, we can offer a few tips to make your whale watches more enjoyable, more educational and a little easier on your health.
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