whale watching at dana point

March 9, 2016  |  Travel  |  2 Comments

One of the nicest things about coastal living is all the marine life you get to see. Last weekend, Adam and I drove down to Dana Point to check out the Festival of Whales, a quaint town fair that coincides with the grey whale migration. I broke out some of my favourite nautical stripes for the occasion…and then threw on my super warm shearling hoodie, because of sudden gale-force winds!

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Though one of the festival’s bigger draws is surely the discounted whale-watching safari cruises, Adam gets so terribly seasick that we opted to try and spot whales from land instead. After a satisfyingly greasy fry-up at The Brig for brunch (their corned beef hash is addictive!) we headed to the beach behind the Ocean Institute to try our luck there. But after over an hour of unsuccessfully willing the whales to materialize, we decided to hike the Dana Point Headlands Trail instead and see if we’d have better luck spotting them from the top of the cliffs.

Sure enough, just as the sun was setting, a pod of whales showed up just off the coast. None of them did anything more exciting than puff water out of their blowholes, but it was still a pretty cool sight. We joined several other groups in pointing and calling out the puffs as they came – I’d estimate about 4-6 different whales were clearing their blowholes, but who knows how many more were just swimming quietly by. Can you spot the spout in the photo above?

Though I suspect Adam was expecting something more theatrical, it was a pretty great way to spend a Sunday. And since whale spotting season goes through March, I’d definitely consider driving back to see if we can capture a bit more action than just the odd spout of water. This time, I’m bringing binoculars!

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