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“8 Hour Whale Wach”

Pacific Nature Tours
Ranked #110 of 266 Outdoor Activities in San Diego
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: From late December through mid-April, about 26,000 gray whales make the journey from the cold and volatile waters of the Arctic Sea to Baja California. From June until November, the mighty blue whales make their way into their feeding grounds, off the coast of southern California. Take a boat out of Mission bay to the Coronado Islands just across the Mexican border and enjoy your cruise viewing whales, dolphins, elephant seals and more. The tour boat serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. It can get very cold on the water, so bring a jacket.
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
111 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“8 Hour Whale Wach”
Reviewed April 8, 2013

Used the LivingSocial discount which made the trip less than half-price, but there was an additional $20 per person fuel charge collected at the site (we knew about this). We saw gray whales, minky whales, and probably the first blue whale of the season. Hundreds of common dolphins, oyster catchers, red boobies, seals and sea lions.

The boat was nice - right size for number of guests, and the crew was great. Only down side was that it was fairly choppy out - and probably 60% of the guests got sea sick, even though they'd taken dramine. I'm subject to motion sickness, my wife generally is not - we both took dramine, but got sick anyway. Kind of a bummer. So we didn't get to enjoy much of the provided food, drinks and snacks.

We headed out about 8 miles directly west from San Diego, and then down south about 16 miles to the 4 Coronado Islands (Islas Coronados) off the coast of Baja Mexico. We saw lots of pelicans, petras, and sea ducks as well as more seals.

Overall the trip was as promised, the crew was knowledgable, friendly and helpful. 8 hours is a bit too long for me, even without the sea sickness, and I think I'd do a shorter (4 hour) trip in the future. I would definitely recommend Pacific Nature Tours.

Visited April 2013
Thank Mike_TV_Producer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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29 reviews from our community

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English first
Glendale, Arizona
Level Contributor
6 reviews
Reviewed February 18, 2013

Went on an 8 hour Whale watching tour on 2-16-13 It was amazing !! We saw a total of 14 whales, 12 Grey Whales and 2 Humpback. We also saw approx 1300 Dolphins they were everywhere !! Went to Coronado Islands and saw Elephant seals,sea lions,seals. And loads of water fowl
Would definitely recommend the trip

Visited February 2013
Thank als1615
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego County
Level Contributor
23 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Great day on the waves”
Reviewed February 11, 2013

We got a groupon for their 4 hour whale watching tour. The day before our trip was stormy and cold but we called and they said we were still going. Yay! We showed up in our arctic attire and were sure glad we had it, it was freezing out there. The captain talked to us ahead of time and said that it was a very choppy day and anyone who thought they might get sick should probably reschedule so we lost about 10 people right away.

He wasn't kidding, we were rocking all 4 hours, but we had a great time. Definitely stay at the front of the boat if you're not feeling well. We stood at the bow the entire time except for 5 minutes to visit friends who had gone to sit in the back. As soon as I went back, I started feeling sick too so I headed back to the front and just camped out there. Felt fine the whole time. There are no seats at the front however, so my legs were definitely sore the next day from the wave workout.

The crew was great, although we didn't utilize the galley because of the conditions. I think all they sold was ginger ale and seasick pills all morning. We saw 3 grey whales, two of them repeatedly breaching which was spectacular. The journey through the channel to and from shore was an adventure to be sure. The captain did a great job of matching our speed to a swell coming in to avoid the "rapids". It was definitely not the ideal day for a boat ride, but we had a great time.

I would like to try the 8 hour tour, but on a calmer day at sea.

Visited February 2013
1 Thank datherto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chris S, Owner at Pacific Nature Tours, responded to this review, February 13, 2013
Thank you for such an awesome review! Our captains try to make it a point of addressing rough water prior to boarding, so we are very pleased that he did so. We generally have calmer seas in the summer and run more eight hour trips during that time of year anyway, due to the abundance of sunshine.
In regards to the boat, it is actually better to stay in the stern of the boat if you are seasick, as it is more stable. The bow rocks and rolls more than the stern and can affect motion sickness, since most of that has to due with inner ear balance issues. However, if you get motion sickness similar to sitting in the back of a car or rear-facing seats on a train, the stern sides would would be best, as you face the bow. If anyone ever feels seasick, we encourage them to contact a crew member. They are all first aid and CPR trained and have a multitude of ways to help ease discomfort.
Our galley always carries ginger ale and dramamine, and we encourage all our customers to take some prior to boarding as a precautionary measure.
Thank you for coming out with us. Please call us for eight hour times and we'd be more than happy to help you out and get you out on a calm day.
-Chris Switzer, Owner
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, CA
Level Contributor
61 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Great tour and well priced with coupon”
Reviewed February 6, 2013 via mobile

Saw four whales and a huge pod of dolphins chowing down on sardines. Sea Lions got in on the sardine action too. Friendly staff, very punctual and the boat size and number of passengers were perfect. I really enjoyed the half day trip. I think 8 hours would've been too long, at least for me.

Thank cblaiz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, United States
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Exactly what I needed!”
Reviewed October 10, 2012

If people think eight hours is so long, then why do they book for eight hours? You can't dock a company points for something that you ordered and they gave you!

Anyway, I digress. I went out and expected eight hours (since that's what I booked). Their fuel surcharge was suprisingly cheap, compared to other boats I've been on that charge 50-100 for 8+ hours of fuel. We didn't see any baleen whales, but you can't blame PNT for that, as we travelled quite the distance - we started by heading straight out into open ocean and then seemed to head north. We ran into a pod of dolphins and then, all of a sudden, Melissa said that another boat found a megapod of dolphins, closer to the coast! We headed back towards the coast and all of a sudden...splashing on the horizon! Dolphins were jumping everywhere! I looked out as far as my eye could see and you'd see a dolphin jumping! It was intense!

Note to people who have never really been on a real boat before (cruise ships don't count). Take dramamine beforehand. They sell some aboard if you need it. Better safe than sorry. We had this one lady on board who was thoroughly convinced that she could not ever get seasick, since she goes on cruises at least once a year (and she wouldn't shut up about it)! She was the first one to throw up and was doing so the entire trip. This is not a cruise ship - it's smaller and moves faster, and is actually a sportfisher boat, so the motion of the ocean is enhanced. I had my motion sickness patch on and I took dramamine. And I grew up on small sportfisher boats. It's better to be safe than sorry!

Visited September 2012
Thank L F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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