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.

  • Dress warmly and dress in layers. It is usually cold out there. The boat can leave the harbor in 85 degree weather and be in 65 degree weather in less than 45 minutes. The wind is usually cold. The water is always cold. The spray from the bow soaks into skin and you can get really cold. The beauty of layers is just maybe you'll find warm weather at sea. Maybe. Did I mention it gets cold out there?
  • Bring a plastic bag for your camera if you aren't using a waterproof mobile phone. When you're not taking pictures keep the camera safely tucked in the bag. The salt spray can turn $500 worth of electronic genius into scrap metal before you realize that you were just hit with salt water spray. Better yet, buy one of those disposable cameras that you will throw away when you're done. Plastic doesn't rust!
  • Know what you're going to see. Not all whales are available during all times of the year. If you're hoping to see a humpback in February you might be disappointed. Read up on them. Why is a Right Whale called a Right Whale? (Because it was the right whale to hunt.) How long can a Blue Whale really get? (+100 ft) Do whales sleep? (It's called logging and they rest half of their brain at a time. They're conscious breathers and will drown if they sleep like we do.) There will usually be a naturalist on board, but be prepared. The more we have discovered about whales the more we've grown to love them.
  • Take good care of your health. First of all - bring something to soothe sea sickness. It happens to the best of us and it's not always easy to predict. All it takes for the waves to get rough is for the wind to get a bit stronger. It's better to be prepared than to be green. (Seasickness hint: look at the horizon, not the edge of the boat.) Also, bring sunscreen. Even those of us hardened to the Southern California sun can get burned by the sun reflecting off the ocean waves.
  • If you have children, bring something to entertain them. It can take up to an hour to find and track whales. Boats can be kind of dull when there's nothing to see. Avoid books or board games (try reading on a bus with six foot bumps) unless Junior has an iron constitution. (And kids often do, don't they!)