Whale Watching in Morro Bay

Where the tour starts

Week 26. September 5. My birthday. I took the day off and Steve and I went to Morro Bay to do some whale watching via the Dos Osos whale watching tour boat. The tour takes a couple hours and you go a couple miles outside the Morro Bay harbor mouth. I’d been hearing great reports all summer including blue whales and breaching humpback whales. It was late in the season, so I wasn’t sure we would see any, but I had my fingers crossed.

from the bay, looking at the stacks and a raft of sea lions

I’d been spending a lot of time in Morro Bay, especially at the embarcadero and noticed it had been filled with the sound of constant seal barking. Sea Lion barking, to be more precise. The Sea Lions had claimed squatter rights on a boat landing in the middle of the harbor as well as docks along the embarcadero itself. It was great to cruise right up next to them. Sea lions? They’re big. And loud.

sea lions, closer

And they like to sun themselves.

Morro Rock and the harbor mouth

It was a beautiful day. Not too hot, slight breeze. And the bay/ocean was mostly calm. This harbor mouth can be a doozy during bad weather. It has capsized boats (and killed some people). During the winter time waves sometimes break here and surfer will paddle out. But today was calm and nice and perfect.

dolphins in the bay

We even saw dolphins inside the harbor.

out at sea, looking back at the shore

I was determined to have a great time whether or not we saw any whales. The ocean and scenery were quite lovely.

otter out to sea

I’m used to seeing sea otters in the bay…. To be honest, I think I just considered them bay-type of creatures. I never pictured them out in the open waters. Yet, we saw several otters (mostly loner types) way out in the ocean. The skipper said that they tracked an otter once who swam all the way from Morro Bay to Cambria in one day. Who knew?

otter even farther out to sea

So it was a lovely day of sea lions, dolphins and wayward otters.

And then….



We saw several whales traveling south together. Here’s a tip: once you see them, count down about five minutes and you will probably see them again (that’s how long they go before needing another breath). Where you will see them will be a mystery, but more likely than not, you will see them surface again in five minutes time.

More whales

It was pretty exciting. We didn’t see them breach, but we saw flukes, we saw spouts, we saw backs. We were happy.

even more whales

If we had just gone a week before we probably would have seen more activity. A month or so before and we would have seen even more than that. So, calendars are marked for next year. Maybe we’ll see a blue whale, too.

cute otter family with kayaker in the background

In the meantime we will placate ourselves with adorable otter families and beautiful scenery.

coming back in to morro bay

dos osos taken a couple days before

me, beach a week #26

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