Whale Watching

The San Diego Wine and Food Festival – VinDiego

We hope to see you Saturday at the Broadway Pier Pavilion for The San Diego Wine & FoodFestival, VinDiego. Flagship Executive Chef Brian Gist will be on hand and representing Flagship with some of his favorite dishes. Meet the chef and enjoy samples of some of his finest gourmet creations.

You can also catch Chef Gist on San Diego 6 this Thursday Morning at 8:20am for a preview of what you can expect on Saturday at the festival. Chef Gist’s TV appearance on ‘the CW’ and his presentations at VinDiego will also serve as your own up close and personal preview to Flagship Cruises & Events San Diego Dinner Cruises, Prime Rib Dinner Cruises, and Sunday Champagne Brunch Cruises.

For all “foodies” in Southern California, the festival is a must. It goes without saying that all SoCal ‘Oenophiles’ (wine lovers) within 200 miles of San Diego will be there, and you should be too. You don’t have to be an aficionado or a connoisseur to have an absolute blast at VinDiego. Take a break from sightseeing or whale watching and bring your friends to the festival. They will thank you for it!

Visit the VinDiego website for more details about The San Diego Wine & Food Festival >

Visit Flagship Cruises & Events website for information about Executive Chef Brian Gist >



Look out for Dolphin while Whale Watching

Seeing Gray Whales up close is spectacular enough, but there’s more to a Whale Watching voyage than just seeing these gentle giants. There’s also the beautiful sights, and numerous other species of birds and marine life. One exciting animal you’re likely to spot are the Dolphin!

There’s a number of Dolphin species of the San Diego coast, but 2 of the more plentiful are the 2 varieties of ‘Common Dolphin’, the short-beaked and the long-beaked. They look very similar, but a closer inspection reveals differences in color and size.

Long -beaked common dolphin prefer to stay closer to shore, while their short-beaked counterparts prefer the deeper water further off shore. The spot spot for whale watching just happens to be a perfect spot to spy either variety of common dolphin.

Reserve your spot on FLagship’s next Whale Watching cruise off the coast of San Diego:


There’s nothing like seeing giant Gray Whales up close!

There’s nothing like seeing these gentle giants up close, and some of them are wondering where you’ve been?

How will you recognize a Gray Whale? Other than by their shear giant size of generally between 15 and 35 tons (That’s 20 average sized cars!), you can identify these majestic creatures by their long bowed heads, their tail consisting of 2 wide flukes separated by a central notch, and the barnacles that typically encrust their skin.

Gray Whales are also identified by their gray color (obvious) which is ‘mottled’ and patches of white, orange or yellow.

Visit Flagship online to see our daily schedule for Whale Watching:


The sun, the sea and the whales!

Book your own excursion with Flagship!


Passengers showing off their favorite new T-Shirt!



The Whales are Back!

Twice a year, Gray Whales make their way along the western coast of North America on a predictable migration route. These magnificent mammals journey over 12,000 miles in the course of a year. One of the prime locations for gray whale watching is San Diego.

Gray whales swim from the Arctic waters near Alaska to Baja, California in order to breed and give birth in the warm waters of the lagoons. When the calves are ready to face the open ocean, the whales swim northward to the Arctic. San Diego cruises are perfectly set up to watch the steady stream of around 20,000 whales that pass through the area from November to April.

The best time for whale watching on San Diego cruises is during the northern Migration from February to April. Whale watching passengers have the unique opportunity of seeing mothers with their calves. Newly born whales must drink 50 to 70 gallons of milk every day and will stick very closely to their mothers. Whale watching on San Diego cruises during the northward migration also allows watchers to see the whales feeding on their favorite Mysid Shrimp. Dozens of whales will gather at the same place for hours to devour a mid journey snack.

San Diego cruises on calm winter mornings offer the best visibility. The water is smooth and clear, and the sun is not too bright. The individual markings of the whales are best seen at this time. All mature Gray Whales have scars that form unique white spotted patterns. These are from parasitic barnacles and rough encounters with sharks. Their baleens are used to filter food and are an unusual off white color.

Gray Whales have predictable diving patterns. They will take several short, shallow dives before taking a deep plunge to about 100 feet below the surface. Before the whale takes a deep dive, they will flick their tail in the air. When they resurface they will take a deep breath and blow all the stale air and water from their blowholes. Gray Whales have two blow holes which makes a unique heart shaped blow that goes about 15 feet into the air. Adult whales sometimes get curious about whale watchers and will spy hop by rising vertically out of the water to look at the boat.

CLICK HERE to learn more about our Whale Watching tours.


Learn How Sonar Works:

Sonar is a method of detecting objects underwater using a sound echo. Weekend cruise ships and boat charters cruising along the San Diego coast for whale watching sometimes use sonar for locating gray whales, sea lions and other marine life. Sonar is also used aboard boats for navigating in shallow waters.

San Diego’s coastline is rich in many kinds of marine mammals and fish. Whales are one species that migrate along the coast using sonar, also known as sound navigation. In this way, whales find food, family members and direction of travel. A whale’s sonar abilities are powerful enough for locating a marble sized object at over 50 feet distance.

There are two types of sonar: passive and active. Passive sonar only listens for sounds but does not transmit its own sound. Active sonar sends out a sound signal and then measures the time it takes for the echo to return to the sonar transmitter. Because sound moves through water at a constant speed, the distance to the object can be calculated by how long it takes the sound to bounce back.

The sonar devices aboard weekend cruise ships and boat charters (hired for a birthday or other celebrations) in the San Diego harbor use passive sonar that only listens for sound. A whale watching or weekend cruise ship uses both passive and active sonar for determining the direction and distance of objects.

Whales and bats are the only species that have the inborn ability for detecting and transmitting sonar echoes. Human beings have developed this ability by building both active and passive sonar devices, allowing us to make use of this unusual sensory ability.

A whale watching cruise is enhanced by sonar technology bringing humans and whales into closer contact: Boat charters for birthdays or any special occasion and weekend cruise ships can use sonar to listen for the whales’ sounds and songs. This then increases the chances of a sighting. Sonar is a technology that helps bridge the gap between humans and these giants of the sea. A whale sighting can be a birthday gift that will not soon be forgotten.

CLICK HERE to learn more about our Whale Watching cruises.


Six whales caught on video this morning:

A great morning! Whale Watching with Birch Aquarium; encountering a half-dozen whales! Passengers were understandably excited.



Flagship Whale Watching Tours Guided by Expert Naturalists

Whale Watching San Diego
Whale Watching should be more than just Whale Watching. Flagship Cruises & Events has partnered with a team of dedicated and experienced educators from the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography to deliver a superior Whale Watching experience in San Diego. Each instructor has a diverse background in marine, environmental, geological, and/or biological science plus previous teaching experience.  By understanding why Whales behave they way they do, our passengers can have a true appreciation for the beauty and wonder of Grey Whales.

CLICK HERE to learn more about our Whale Watching tours.


San Diego Bay Marine Life

Grey Whale Breaching

There is a lot of very interesting marine life in and around San Diego Bay. The gray whales that swim in the area are beautiful and extremely fun and entertaining to observe. Because of this, San Diego whale watching is a very popular activity. People interested in whale watching should take a short cruise with San Diego Harbor Excursion.

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San Diego Since 1915.

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