You wanna feel like you’re part of something big or exclusive this summer? It’s not about iPhones or waiting in line at a fictional store or a new ride or a new movie. If you’re someone who wants to wait for something how about real and rare. How about belonging to a really exclusive club of people who have seen a Blue Whale?
There may be only 12,000 Blue Whales on the planet (and only 3,500 of those in the Northern Hemisphere). Talk about a limited supply. But we’re lucky enough that we live a scant ninety minute drive from a summer feeding ground. We’re talking world class whale watching here that can be done in a day … get up early, go out on a boat, sleep in your own bed that night.
The American Cetacean Society Los Angeles is hosting a trip this Saturday on the Condor Express leaving from Santa Barbara. The boat leaves at 8 AM and returns at 4 PM (possibly later if there’s something cool to look at). Tickets are $90 and seats are still available. As a reference normal half-day trips on the Condor Express are $88 for half day trips … this is such a deal!
I did their Humpback Adventure at the end of May and had a blast (full account here and even did here). And I saw my first Blue Whale two years ago … it’s an awesome experience. They’re just so huge (the whale came towards the boat, blew a huge column as it exhaled, took a breath and started to go down as it reached the bow. There was just all of this animal passing by us, you know, just a long view of its back until finally there’s a dinky little dorsal fin and it raised its tail to dive). But as big as they are, they have an incredible sense of awareness as it just skimmed right by our boat.
Here are the caveats though … you have to be patient. Whale watching isn’t like a movie or theme park where you’re guaranteed an experience. Whales are wild animals and though Blues are being seen every day up in the Santa Barbara Channel, it may not be sunny and perfect on Saturday, it may take hours to find one. (Of course in the mean time you may find Dall’s Porpoise, Risso’s Dolphins, Common Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins, Humpback Whales, Minke Whales and California Sea Lions … I’ve seen all of these on trips.)
The trips are sponsored by the Amercian Cetacean Society’s Los Angeles Chapter which runs the Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project along with the local Whale Watching Naturalist Training program through the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and works to send delegates to the International Whaling Commission. (Japan has started killing Humpback whales as part of their “scientific research”.) The money raised from these trips goes to support those programs and other action alerts that protect marine mammals and our oceans. Full disclosure: I joined the board of the Los Angeles chapter earlier this year to do what I can to protect our oceans and the great creatures that live in them. (Hell, I just love watching wild dolphins.)
Can’t make this Saturday? There are several other full-day trips coming up July 28th (I’m definitely on that one) and August 11th.
Seriously, what’s holding you back? Is it the money? Sea World is $57 and they sure don’t have Blue Whales. The boat is a wide and double hulled so it’s a really smooth ride, they have a full galley (and host a free continental breakfast when you get on board).
Here are my previous Santa Barbara whale watching accounts: Humpback Adventure (May 2005) and Blue Whales (July 2005). At the end of May I went out to see the Humpback Whales (and even did a little geo-tagging of the photos).
Book your tickets over the phone at (310) 548-0966.