What month to go?
The Humpback whales arrive here in April and stay in our bay feeding through December. During this entire period the Humpback whales are actively feeding near the surface in groups of 2 to 10 whales with anywhere from 30 to 100 total whales in the area. Here are the percentages of trips that saw whales from the past 2 years month by month. April 65% May 80% June 85% July 85% August 90% September 95% October 95% November 90% December 60%.
What time of the day to go?
Departure times for whale watching trips are 9:00 am and 11:30 am. The earlier trip usually has calmer sea conditions but might have some fog. The mid day trip has less chance of fog but might get a bit colder and rougher as the afternoon winds begin to blow. These winds can vary a good deal in intensity and timing from day to day. Typically they start to blow between 1:00 to 2:00 pm each day. There will be periods of calm weather when we will be able to add a third trip for private groups going at 2:00 pm. Please call me if you are interested in adding a private trip. If the ocean becomes too rough or foggy on the day of your trip to safely go out to the whales we will go for a coastal tour viewing a wide variety of other animals and historic sights. On these trips you will receive a 50 percent refund.
How to dress?
Please note that our boat is open for the best possible wildlife viewing, this means we are exposed to the wind and seas as we travel the bay searching for whales. It would be impossible for us to tell you exactly what to wear each day as the forecast is rarely correct. We believe you should prepare for the worst and hope for the best! This is why we recommend that you bring a waterproof jacket, warm pants and a warm sweater on all whale watching trips year round! If you think you might be too warm on a day when it is 90 degrees on the land go ahead and wear shorts and a light shirt but please bring a bag with extra clothing on the boat. We have seen the air temperature as much as 20 degrees colder offshore than it is on land due to the offshore water temperature rarely getting over 55 degrees. A warm hat and gloves are also a good idea to have with you in the spring and early summer.
Temperatures in April through May can be in mid 40's and go all the way up to high 70's. For trips departing June through November the temperatures typically range from the 50's on up to the low 80's. To be comfortable you will need to dress in layers so you can adjust as the temperatures change.
What will you see?
Our main goal on each trip will be to find and spend as much time as possible with the whales, but since the central coast has such an abundance of wildlife we also find dolphins, porpoise, otters and sea lions year round. For more detailed day by day account of what we have seen on our adventures over the past year please click on the recent sightings tab.
Is there a guarantee that you will see whales?
The short answer is no as this is not a zoo. Please understand that we giving you the chance to see wild animals in a wild place which is the beauty of this experience. We will always use every bit of experience we have to find them for you but the truth is no person has any control over mother nature and while we do find whales on the majority of our tours there will be days that we do not. Please have realistic expectations as to what seeing wildlife in the real world is all about. Since we are not in control of the weather or the whales or anything else in the wild we do not offer refunds or credits for future trips when we do not see whales on a tour.
This tour is not recommended for anyone with neck or back problems that might be aggravated by traveling on a boat that at times may be bouncing around in an unpredictable manner. All ages are welcome, please call before making a reservation if you have children under 2 years of age or anyone with mobility issues. Please take us seriously when we say that It gets cold out on the water and you need to bring a warm jacket for this trip.
We only take out 6 passengers at a time so that everyone can move to a place on the boat offering an unobstructed view as we engage with the whales and other wildlife. We also really like this intimate setting where we can converse about the animals as we find them. Our boat is perfectly suited for these trips, she is a 28 ft power catamaran named "PACIFIC FLYER". She is the most stable boat in this size range and offers a much smoother ride than any other boat we have ever been on. This gets us to the whales faster and allows us to spend more quality time with them than larger, slower boats with 50 to 100 people on them. Best of all our bay is a prolific producer of anchovies. This brings the Humpback whales to our bay each summer in large numbers to feed as they try to rebuild their blubber stores to see them through next winters migration south. When they are not feeding the Humpback whales are famous the world over for their playful behaviors such as breaching, tail slapping and pectoral slapping. Local experience matters when looking for whales and we have been in continuous, year round operation since 2012. In that time we have taken over 17,000 guests out onto the waters of San Luis Bay to see the whales and other animals. Over the years our guests have rated us as the best boat tour in the area on both Tripadvisor and Yelp. So if you are looking for a knowledgeable, friendly captain to escort your family out for a safe, educational and memorable whale watching experience please join us for a tour.