Is there an animal or type of animal that has always intrigued you? For me, it has always been marine life. Whales, specifically. Orca whales to be EVEN MORE specific. I love them. I always have and I'm talking pre Free Willy days here, people. I have always wanted to see whales in person. Not in a tank, not on TV, not in captivity. In the wild, jumping out of the water, breaching, blowing, tail slapping for all to see, because of this whale watching has ALWAYS been on my bucket list. I knew that I had to do when I started planning my trip to California!
I found an awesome Groupon (which is a great way to save money on travel) for a 2.5 hour whale watching tour with Davey's Locker in Newport Beach. Of course, I bought it, set up my reservation and did a dance that may have looked similar to this one…
Just so you aren't surprised, when you set up your reservation you do have to pay taxes, fuel charges and you can rent binoculars at this time. With one set of binoculars and charges for 2 people, it came to about $11.00 USD.
Balboa Pier is a pretty interesting place with a lot of fun things to see, including the “Longest Ferris Wheel Ride”.
You start your whale watching tour in the Balboa Marina off of Balboa Island.
Your boat will begin boarding about 10 minutes before you go out, but you will want to be there much earlier. We went about 60 minutes early and I am glad we did, because we were on a tour with three 5th grade classes. Yup, three classes full of loud 10 year olds (kid-free mom-cation, lol), but it worked out great because we were there early and got an awesome spot on the bow of the boat.
Now, I had never been on a big boat or on open water before, so everybody and their uncles warned me about sea-sickness. I said I'd be fine and I wasn't worried about it. Of course, my mom asked me one more time before we got one the boat.
Being out on the open ocean for the first time is one of the most amazing things I have ever felt. The water was calm, the weather was perfect and I swear, I couldn't have picked a better day to be there.
After cruising for a little bit, we spotted our first signs of life! A pod of Common Dolphins off in the distance.
The captain took us closer and assured us that these dolphins would “play” with us and boy, did they! They got so close we could practically touch them!
This mama and her calf swam right under the boat. I seriously felt so close to them.
This one sprayed right at me as it came out of the water and then, tail slapped as it dove back in!
They got even closer still!
We did get a little surprise coming back into the marina. Some very tired California sea lions were sunning themselves on a buoy.
The whale watching tour with Davey's Locker was awesome. I highly suggest taking one if you are ever in Orange County or Newport Beach!
I also recommend that you bring the following:
- a fitted hat or one that ties
- a light hoodie or jacket
Remember, have fun, hold on and keep your eyes on the horizon! Oh and by the way, sea-sickness was never an issue. I took to the motion of the ocean like a champ!