Whale Watching: Always a Surprise

By Birch Aquarium Naturalist Kate Jirik

Birch Aquarium at Scripps and Flagship Cruises & Events are celebrating 15 years as whale watching tour partners. You would think we’d seen it all, but gray whales continue to surprise us.

We are just a month into the gray whale watching season, and we already have some exciting notes [...]

How Gray Whale Calves Learn to Feed

Gray whales are on the return leg of their annual migration, heading from Baja California’s breeding lagoons to the Bering and Chukchi seas in the Arctic. Map source: Wikipedia, Creative Commons

A whimsical welcome letter to gray whale calves from the imagined “Bering & Chukchi Seas Dining Services.”

May 2013

Dear Gray Whale Calf,


Birch Aquarium Greets the World for Whale Watching

Study abroad student Phil Shu (right) and two other eager learners investigate gray whale specimens with volunteer naturalist Courtney Ocheltree (left).

By Kate Jirik, Birch Aquarium naturalist

A blanket of coastal fog is clearing as whale watching boat Marietta edges out of San Diego Bay. Higher-than-expected waves catch many passengers off guard, but the [...]

Whale Watching: An Unusual Season

Whale watcher Meredith Maddox caught this photo of a gray whale breaching on a recent cruise with Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Courtesy photo.

By Elizabeth Argyle, Birch Aquarium naturalist

Whale watching is a very tricky business because we’re at the mercy of what nature has to offer us. However, occasional high winds, rolling seas, [...]

Whale Watching: The Tale of a Whale’s Trail

By Elizabeth Argyle, Birch Aquarium naturalist

It’s nearing the end of January and San Diego is back in its rhythm after a long holiday break. While locals may have returned to their respective jobs and schools, something exciting is happening in the waters not too far from the city center. Gray whales are making their [...]

Whale Watching: Season in Summary

By Audrey Evans, whale watching coordinator

Once again, it’s time to bid farewell to the gray whales; Birch Aquarium at Scripps’ 2011-12 whale watching season has drawn to a close. We are pleased with the season’s success; more than 500 baleen whales were spotted in the past three-and-a-half months.

Our passengers – along with aquarium [...]

Grays, Fins, and Humpbacks – Oh My!

The fin whale is the second largest animal on earth, behind the blue whale.

In the past few weeks, we’ve seen a few whale species other than grays off San Diego.

A favorite is the fin whale. The second largest animal on our planet today (averaging 79 feet long), these whales are quite a [...]

Whale Watching: A ‘Mega’ Dolphin Encounter

By Kate Jirik, aquarium naturalist

A strange, mirror-like haze hangs over the horizon. Shimmering patterns of reflected light remind me of the images that filmmakers use to depict distant landscapes in the desert. Except, this is no desert. For an hour, the Marietta has been sailing southwest and, with the exception of a chain of [...]

There She Blows! Whale-Watching Season Begins

Onboard the Marietta. Courtesy: San Diego Shooter, via Flickr

By Bekah Logan, naturalist

This year’s whale-watching season aboard the Marietta is off to a great start! Great weather and, for the most part, calm seas have been prevalent, and so have the whales.

This time of month is perfect for spotting gray whales along [...]

Whale Watching Photo Winners: March & April

We’re a bit behind on this, but below are the winners of our Whale Watching Photo Contest for March & April. You can see winners for February here and December/January here.

Only seven months until whale season resurfaces!

First Place Momof3sharkkids Runner Up TinaMarie34 (Two photos)