Where to Go to Spot Whales This Boating Season

Whales are majestic animals that live in the ocean and while boating, you may have the opportunity to lay your eyes on some of the many different species that call the ocean home.

If you have never seen a whale while boating, you may not have been looking in the right places. Whale watching is a fun activity and many people set out all summer long to find these ocean creatures and watch as they jump into the air and make a grand splash.

The West Coast is filled with opportunities to see whales up close and personal from the comfort and safety of your boat. Below, we will go over some of the best places you can spot them.

Hot Spots to Find Whales in the Ocean

Before you can go whale watching, you need to know where to go. Unfortunately, you cannot just sit in the open water anywhere and hope to see them. Whales frequent certain areas and you have a better chance of finding them if you head to where they are known to go.

So, where can you find them?

Depoe Bay, Oregon

Also nicknamed the Devil’s Punch Bowl for the bowl shaped formation made out of the coastal rocks, this area is known for whale watching.

While boating, you can see the majestic gray whale. It is truly a breathtaking moment. However, it is important to note that these sightings are limited to when the majestic gray whale is in the area. You should plan your trip sometime in the month of June to see it.

One of the cool things about Depoe Bay is that you can see the whales while on and off the water. You can see them from the coastline, and you can even surf and enjoy the sandy beaches while there.

Monterey Bay, California

Monterey Bay is another hot spot for whale watching and not only will you find whales here, but you will also find a variety of different marine life.

Whale watchers enjoy heading to Monterey Bay because the waters are always buzzing with action. You will find it near impossible to leave saying you didn’t see a whale.

You can spot humpback and blue whales throughout the summer months along with seals, otters, and more.

San Juan Islands, Washington

Just north of Seattle, you will find the San Juan Islands. These islands are well known for being beautiful and offering some of the best views of the ocean from the beaches.

This is a hot spot for orcas, you know, killer whales. These whales can be spotted readily, and the largest of the islands is actually nicknamed Orcas Island because the whales appear regularly.

The orcas can be seen here throughout the year, so you do not have to plan to go at any specific time. One of the nice things about the San Juan Islands is that you can also spot several other types of whales alongside the orcas.  

How Do I Know It’s a Whale?

If you have never been whale watching before, you may not know what to look for. It is important to pay attention to the water as you cruise. Also, remember, whales do not always break the surface, so you may not see them fully.

Here are some tips to help you better spot a whale and what to look out for:

  • Be observant at all times
  • Keep your eyes towards the horizon
  • Blowing water – this can look like bubbles or even smoke over the water
  • Log or something floating in the water – this can often be a fin
  • Noises – keep your ears open as you can usually hear the whales before you see them
  • Loud and big splashes – look out for big splashes and keep your eyes peeled if you hear one

Enjoy the Sun and See as Many Whales as You Can

One of the most important things to remember when you are whale watching is to stay safe. Always take precautions, wear your life vest, and of course, do not try to pet the whales, if they get close enough to the boat.

You should cruise at a slow pace as you do not want to go too fast and either miss them or deter them.

Do make sure you bring cameras, sun hats, sunscreen, and sunglasses to protect yourself as you are out on the water too.

Ready to see a whale? It is definitely going to be a memorable experience and one you will never forget.

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