Harbor Breeze Cruises & Whale Watching

Whale Watching in the Northeast Pacific: California Coast

sperm whale
blue whale
gray whale
killer whale
fin whale
humpback whale
long beach whale watching tour

The Southern California coast is the premiere destination for year-round whale-watching. Gray whales can be seen from shore on their annual migration, while blue whales, Fin whales, Minke whales, Humpback whales, Orcas (also known as killer Whales) and various species of dolphins (such as common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and Risso's) have been spotted off the coast of Long Beach. Each of the whales have their own unique characteristics.


Gray whales are recognizable by their unique dorsal fin and body scars, which are caused by bacteria-eating parasites. The females are usually larger than the males. A unique characteristic of the gray whales is that they blow water in the shape of a heart.


The Blue Whale's unique feature is that they are the largest mammal to ever have inhabited the planet! These whales weigh up to 150 tons and reach as long as 100 feet! The blue whales get their name from their coloring. Their dorsal fin is small in comparison to the size of its body. Blue whales take approximately 5 breaths when they come out of the water for air, spout water up to 40 feet into the air and then dive back into the water, typically with a signature fluke of their tail. The whales' nostrils have a covering that protects them when they are underwater.


Humpback whales have bumpier heads and longer dorsal fins than most other whales. Humpback whales love to breach, or fling their entire body playfully in the air and then splash into the water. A unique characteristic of the humpbacks are that the males sing using their nasal passages instead of vocal cords. A single song may last as long as 22 hours and each has their own unique melody.


Minke whales can claim being the smallest in size, usually about 5 tons, but in population they have one of the largest overall populations of whales in the world.


Orcas are unique of the whales mentioned in that they are not actually a member of the scientific whale family, but are in fact the largest dolphin species! Their nickname of killer whales comes from their tendency to eat other whales. They eat approximately 500 tons of food daily. Although orcas are the most common whales to be kept in captivity, their life span is often shortened in such conditions. They usually only live 25 years in captivity whereas they can live up to 70 years in their natural habitat, the ocean.


Seeing these magnificent mammals in their natural environment is truly a life-changing experience. Cruise passengers will get to observe these unique characteristics among others of the wildlife they encounter. Southern California's coastline boats an abundance of whales, dolphins, seals, sealions, a variety of birds and much more!