Category Archives: Whale Watching

Whale Paddle a Success

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Eleven paddlers went out on February 6 to see some whales, and we not only saw two of them, but we were given a wonderful show by a few Pacific White Sided Dolphins. While no photos were captured of the whales or Dolphins, the picture below is what the Dolphins were doing. They may have been chasing small fish, or just showing off, but they were coming all the way out of the water very close to us.

Pacific White Sided Dolphin

The whales were not spotted until we were on the way back, and not more than 1.2 miles from the south jetty at about the 60 ft depth. Those whales may have been heading  inside the kelp bed, but could have gone either way. We waited for a while to see the water spouts south of us, but never did.

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Click to enlarge photos

The paddle lasted about 3.5 hours and we went 7.2 NM with an average moving speed of about 2. 2 knots. John and Scotty were on paddle boards, and Matt and Justine were in their new two  person inflatable kayak, in which they had no problem keeping up with the group. Good weather and a great time on the water.

Photo by Rheta Schoeneman

Photo by Rheta Schoeneman

 

Whale Watch Paddle Report

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Sixteen paddlers ventured out on Saturday, January 17 to check out the whales. We had the good fortune of seeing two whales, one of which surfaced within 100 yards of us while we were just southwest of the “Whale 1” waypoint on the 177 ft depth bathymetry line.  That whale then went right under us, and surfaced again just to the south, where we heard the spout. The Whale 1 waypoint is: N32 44.445  W117 17.390. The second whale was spotted on the way in, and was inside the kelp, which is a somewhat rare place to see them. Several people had cameras, but no one was able to catch the whale fluke or back. But for those who were there, it is an image we will remember for years to come. Being that close to something so large in the water is an awesome experience. (Note: click on a photo to enlarge it).

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The paddle lasted about 3 hours, and covered 7.47 nautical miles with an average speed of 2.3 knots. Tiffini joined us from Ensenada, and paddled a SOT. Our moving speed and calm water allowed for everyone to make this paddle in a comfortable manner, so next year we will include slower boats.  Several people rented a boat, and this is a great way for more paddlers to see the whales.

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If you want to see the whales, and do not want to surf launch, going out of the Aqua Adventures location to the Whale 1 waypoint has now proven to be the best and shortest paddle to see them in the San Diego area. We have now done this paddle 4 times, and have seen whales on two of them. That is pretty good odds. The key is to stay on that location (we paddled just past the waypoint, then drifted south on the current), while looking north where the land ends off La Jolla. In this case, we saw two whale watching boats slowly approach us, and suspected they were following whales, which they were. Otherwise you need to quietly listen and look for the spouts. It was a beautiful morning, and a good paddle. Come join us next year.

 

Whale Watch Paddle out of Mission Bay

 

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Joe looking at a fluke

The third weekend in January is historically when the highest number of grey whales are sighted off San Diego, so let’s go try our luck. This is an open ocean paddle for intermediate and beyond kayakers.  Because of safety reasons (staying together as a group), decked kayaks and fast SOTS (able to paddle 2.5 knots/hr) only please. Here are the details:

DATE: January 17, 2015

LAUNCH TIME: 8:30 (be there at 8 am please)

PLACE: Aqua Adventures dock (best place to launch, without going through the surf)

BOAT RENTALS AVAILABLE:  If you have open ocean paddling experience, you can rent a boat at the launch site. Call Aqua Adventures in advance to reserve equipment.  You must have prior experience in a decked kayak, or check with them if they have a fast SOT. Their number is 619 523-9577.

OUR PLAN: The round trip is approx 8 statute miles (unless we decide to also paddle further south along the kelp), and will take 3.5 to 4.5 hours. Our average moving speed will be about 2.5 knots/hr. The whales move down the coast along the kelp beds, so if you are anywhere near the 164 ft depth line (give or take 40 ft of depth), you may see them to the west or east, possibly within 500 ft of you. We have found that it is more likely to see whales near the kelp beds for some reason, and this is why the paddle out of AA has a good probability of a sighting. The Lat/Lon of the “Whale 1” waypoint on the map is:  N32 44.445  W117 17.390

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EQUIPMENT: All safety equipment is required. If you have them, carry a VHF and GPS, with batteries fully charged. And, always wear your life jacket (required).  Remember to bring your water, food, hat, sunglasses, and camera. Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this email message.

IN CASE OF BAD WEATHER: Check your email Friday night after 6 pm if the weather looks bad. We will give an update if the paddle is still on.

Hope you can join us.

 

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a sanctioned San Diego Kayak Club or Aqua Adventures event. The announcer of this event is not the leader of such, merely a “coordinator”.

Disclaimer: We will have experienced paddlers on this trip, but they will not be responsible for telling you what is or is not safe for you to do. We watch out for one another and assist one another, but all individuals are responsible for, and manage their own safety. This responsibility includes assessing your gear, skill level, and physical conditioning relative to conditions and location, as well as making decisions about what you will or will not do. Participants acknowledge that kayaking on the open sea or bay is inherently dangerous and can lead to physical injury including death as well as property damage. Participants, on their behalf and on behalf of their heirs and assignees, agree to hold the announcers and other participants blameless in the event of such injury, damage or death. Please join us if you want to mildly stretch your capabilities, but please stay home if you would be wildly stretching them. Participants should have bracing skills, be able to self-rescue and assist in the rescue of others. They should be able to launch and/or land along the rocky bay front.