What month to go?
The Humpback whales arrive here in April and stay in our bay feeding through December. During the entire summer 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 from the past 2 years of trips, month by month that saw whales durring the Humpback season. April 65% May 80% June 95% July 95% August 99% September 99% October 99% November 95% December 40%.
What time of the day to go?
Departure times for Humpback whale trips are 8:30 am and 11:00 am. The 8:30 am trip usually has calmer sea conditions and the 11:00 am trip is usually warmer 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, typically in September and October when we will be able to add a third trip for private groups going at 1:30 pm. Please call me if you are interested in adding a private trip. If the ocean becomes too rough on the day of your trip to go out to the whales we will go for a coastal explorer tour and 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 if it comes up early. You should be prepared for temperatures out on the water to be as low as mid 50's with a chance of going up into the 80's. You will need to dress in layers so you can adjust as the temperatures change. We recommend long pants, warm sweater, waterproof jacket, hat and gloves. You may bring a bag with extra clothing on the boat as there is plenty of room to stow these onboard.
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 are taking you out to see wild animals in a wild place which is the beauty of this experience. I will always use every bit of experience I 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 I am 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. It gets cold out on the water so please 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. I 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 behaviours 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 I have personally taken over 14,000 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.