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“Close encounter of the Orca Kind”

Adventure R.I.B. Rides
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Experience the thrill of whale watching up close on a fun, fast, 6 passenger RIB boat! Here at Adventure RIB Rides, we seat 6 people per boat so you are never fighting for that seat leaning over the rail like many larger boats. We are the only YEAR ROUND whale watching company! Our ocean excursion on the Authentic NAVY SEAL R.I.B. (Rigid Inflatable Boat) provides an adventure to remember as we race through the ocean finding all types of marine wildlife there is to be seen with captains whom are extremely experienced and passionate about marine life and the history of Sunny San Diego. Our boats are all authentic Navy Seal Team R.I.B.s purchased from Navy Seal Team 1 here in San Diego. Explore the marine life on some of San Diego's historic boats with us! For videos that explain more about the experience, check us out on Facebook!
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Reviewed July 24, 2012

Not only did we see 8 Blue whales ( 3 separate pods) but dolphins by the 1000's what they call a MEGAPOD but we got to see an Orca it was just as curious about us as we were about it and it loved trailing the boat, hiding in the wake, It was a wonderful experience and we would love to do it again. Thank you

1  Thank Sharon F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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404 - 408 of 466 reviews

Reviewed July 20, 2012

My husband and I did the morning (9-12) whale watching tour yesterday, 7/19/12. I wanted to make sure and write a review because we really had an amazing experience! I wasn't sure what we'd end up seeing, since whale sightings are not guaranteed. We got to see some sea lions (on buoys) right away, and got close enough that its bark scared me, ha ha. Once out of the bay, we cruised along in our R.I.B., and the ride itself is a blast. We soon spotted some dolphins and sea birds and had fun watching them. Later, once out into more open waters, we spotted even more dolphins and ended up seeing all three types of dolphin species found in these waters - common, bottle-nosed, and the risso dolphin. I'd never even heard of the risso dolphin, and it was so cool to see these! They are bright white (they get whiter as they age) and larger than the other types of dolphins. It was so fun to see something new and different.

I was so worried about not seeing any blue whales, but we found them pretty quickly and got to see about half a dozen! And we got so close! I'd never been this close to whales before (a previous whale watching tour in another state didn't get us near as close)...a huge blue whale actually swam under our boat at one point! These things are huge! It was so neat to get to see the world's largest mammal up close. We got to see them come up and spout and got to see a couple of tail flukes.

The tour had already exceeded my expectations and turned out to be amazing, but then on our way back in we stumbled upon a "mega-pod" of dolphins, meaning there were over a thousand of them swimming together! What a sight! AND THEN, one of the other people on our boat spotted a larger dorsal fin, and upon further investigation we found it to be...and orca whale! That's right, we stumbled upon a killer whale in the wild. At this point our tour guide got out his camera, so we knew we were seeing something special. The whale seemed to be following the "mega-pod," and he seemed really curious about our boat. We got to hang out with him for about 20 minutes, and he would swim under and around the boat, coming out of the water so close to our boat! We got some amazing footage. Our tour guide even kept us out a little longer than he was supposed to, I think because we were all enjoying it so much and so the tour boat behind us could catch up and see the orca whale, too. The news even featured some of our footage of the killer whale that night. Such an amazing experience!

As for the details, we had an easy time booking this tour. We booked about a week and a half in advance, and they had just a few seats left. We showed up with some extra layers of clothes, but they just had us all wear their one-piece submarine? suits to keep warm. You can pay to park at the Sheraton hotel or park for free at Spanish Landing (a little further). We parked at Spanish Landing and had no trouble finding a parking spot, and it's not too long of a walk to the marina. The R.I.B. boat is the first one in the marina, so super easy to find. There's bottled water on the boat if you want it, and they also have a place to lock up belongings at the marina before you get on the boat. There are no bathrooms on the boat, but there's a place to use the bathroom at the marina before your tour leaves. Clint was our tour guide, and he was great. I realize luck plays into what you will end up seeing, but he was very knowledgeable, and I was grateful for the extra time we had watching the orca whale. I'd definitely recommend this company!

3  Thank TravelingKatie11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2012

Much better way to watch for whales. More personalized and informative. With the RIB boats you can cover a large area much faster increasing your chances of sighting the whales. We saw several Blue whales which was awesome, not to mention all the dolphin, sea lions, a Sun fish and birds. I highly recommend this trip.

2  Thank Scotwall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2012

We did not see any whales but we did see two pods of dolphins. Bottle nose and common dolphin as well as the seals. Although the seals are pretty much guaranteed as they rest on the boys.

Captain was great and he even stayed out an extra 30 mins to try spot a whale but no luck. Please bear in mind that sightings are not guaranteed

Thank scallyanna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2012

My wife and I took our second excursion with Adventure Rib Rides on 7-1-2012, this time to see blue whales. We saw 3 or 4 different blue whales swimming separately but in the same general area, which was in Mexican waters about 4 miles from the Coronado Islands. Our captain, Patrick, knew right where to find them because he had seen them there the day before. We followed one full size adult blue whale for about an hour and saw it make several dives and then re-surface a few minutes later. We were able to observe several tail flukes and were close enough to experience a "spout shower" when the wind blew the water from the whale's spout in our direction.

On the way out to where we spotted the whales we saw 2 dolphins in the harbor and several sea lions, as well as naval ships and a submarine. During the return ride, we were "checked out" by a very large navy helicopter who flew directly over us twice. Seeing the huge helicopter from directly below was quite an experience. This time, we did not encounter the large pods of dolphins that we saw last time, but the blue whales more than made up for it.

Each time we have gone with this group we have been very pleased. The military grade rigid inflatable boats they use sit very low in the water and travel much faster than the large whale watch boats. As a result, they can maneuver quickly to get a great view of the whales and dolphins, etc. A maximum of 6 passengers is taken with each trip so you are quite comfortable and have an ability to learn a lot from the captain about what is being observed.

1  Thank sralph48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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