Harbor Breeze Whale Watching 09/03/2014

So arriving into LAX on the first day meant a pretty hectic travel day. So I knew I was going to check out Santa Monica Pier for a little bit but I was looking for something to do after that. After debating on whether to go to an amusement park or not I finally decided on whale watching. Something I have never done before. After that decision came I looked into reviews of what the best place was to do that, I concluded upon Harbor Breeze Whale Watching in Long Beach which is right next and partnered with the Aquarium of the Pacific. If I would have had more time I would have checked out the aquarium as well but I wanted to see some bigger fish. So how was it? Well read on to find out!

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Here we are at the Aquarium of the Pacific.
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Outside the aquarium is a pretty neat display with fountains and what not. As you can see we are also right on the water near a bunch of docks.
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Here’s a look at the wall of water.
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A map of Long Beach harbor.
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Interesting dolphin statue.
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Blue Whale Cruise! That’s me, luckily I found an Amazon Local deal for $25, however I believe the $45 would still be worth it.
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Appears to be a Ferris wheel in the area.
Waiting for the boat to arrive.
Waiting for the boat to arrive.
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The pier area is quite nice, there’s multiple restaurants right on the water.
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A few more people signing up for the tour.
And our boat has arrived! For some silly reason I forgot to take a picture of the whole boat. Probably because I was really excited. Either way it's nothing massive or anything. Just a normal whale watching boat.
And our boat has arrived! For some silly reason I forgot to take a picture of the whole boat. Probably because I was really excited. Either way it’s nothing massive or anything. Just a normal whale watching boat.
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There is plenty of seats on the boat, plus our cruise wasn’t too packed.
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As we pull off, here’s a look at the dock and other whale watching boats in the fleet. All pretty similar to the boat we’re on.
As you pull out of the harbor the first thing you see is the Queen Mary.
As you pull out of the harbor the first thing you see is the Queen Mary.
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The Queen Mary is a retired ocean liner that was in the White Star Line fleet. The same company which operated the famous Titantic. However the Queen Mary came about much later with her maiden voyage in 1936. The ship is now an historic landmark which also operates as a hotel. It would be pretty neat to spend a night here I must admit.
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One last look down the starboard side of the ship before heading out.
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The area is also a very big shipping port as you can tell by all the shipping containers.
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And with that break wall we are almost to open ocean!
And there it is! Just a whole lot of blue.
And there it is! Just a whole lot of blue.

So instead of showing you a bunch of pictures of open ocean, I’ll get straight to the good stuff. Some of the pictures may be a little blurry since I had to work quick and this being my first whale watching trip. Though I’m still happy with the results, captured more on camera than I thought I did.

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Is that a blue whale tail I see?!?
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So on whale watching trips, this is what the captain and crew are looking for. When the whale breathes they will expel air, water vapor, and carbon dioxide out of their blowhole. When looking for this exhalation is how you know whales are in the area. As you can see by the color of the skin against the water this is a blue whale. The largest animal on earth.
As we cruise onward to find more whales we spot a fin in the water...
As we cruise onward to find more whales we spot a fin in the water…
Looks like some dolphins wanted to come along for the ride.
Looks like some dolphins wanted to come along for the ride.
The dolpins apparently enjoy the wake our boat creates and followed us for a decent amount of time before becoming disinterested.
The dolpins apparently enjoy the wake our boat creates and followed us for a decent amount of time before becoming disinterested.
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We even had a few birds following us.

Before departing on this cruise I was a little worried about motion sickness. Having never been on a boat on the ocean before I didn’t know what to expect, sure I’ve been on Lake Erie before, but the ocean has much bigger waves than Lake Erie. However turns out I had nothing to worry about, yes the boat rocks quite a bit more than any boat on Lake Erie but instead of making me sick it was putting me to sleep. Hopefully we find another whale soon or I might just get an ocean nap.

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We stumbled upon a fin whale!
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The color of the skin is much darker than the blue whale seen earlier.
Another look at the darker skin.
Another look at the darker skin.
And there's the signature fin that the whale is known for.
And there’s the signature fin that the whale is known for.
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And that’s it for our fin whale. See you next time fin whale!

That concludes our whale watching trip. We saw a total of 2 blue whales, a fin whale, some dolphins, and a quick glimpse at a humpback whale. The humpback whale did not stick around long so I wasn’t able to get any pictures. Though still a very successful first whale watching trip.

Sadly time to head back to port.
Sadly time to head back to port.
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That’s a lot of shipping containers.
And back in downtown Long Beach, CA!
And back in downtown Long Beach, CA!
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Lastly a lighthouse for you lighthouse fans out there.

So how was Harbor Breeze Whale Watching? Well in one word simply “amazing”, after doing my research on some of the other companies in the area it sounded like this one never came up empty. While others have gone on trips with other companies and not seen any whales, Harbor Breeze is pretty consistent in their sightings. They do not offer a guarantee but judging by what I experienced and have seen you don’t need one. You’re going to see something, and what that is is quite a mystery. That’s what makes whale watching so fun and unique you never quite know what you’re going to find. So I’ll leave you with some pictures from Harbor Breeze’s Facebook from some trips last week they took where they saw Killer Whales, a pretty rare sight! So bottom line next time you’re in LA check out Harbor Breeze Whale Watching you’ll never know what you might see!

Holy cow right up to the boat!
Holy cow right up to the boat!
Pretty neat!
Pretty neat!
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These I’m told are a lot more uncommon to see than blue whales and gray whales on a whale watching trip.

Well that concludes my whale watching trip report. Maybe I’ll be seeing some killer whales in the future and a maybe a roller coaster or two…. Stay tuned!

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