Wednesday, August 8, 2018

How To Enjoy Whale Watching Catalina Island Tours

By Matthew Wright

There are millions of creatures in the earth's many oceans and seas, but few inspire as much awe from humans as whales. The sheer size of these behemoth creatures is incredible, but also the fact that they have large brains and are very intelligent, often compared to humans in their capabilities. To see them up close while in California, try a whale watching Catalina Island tour.

Catalina Island is an ideal spot to see whales because many different types are there during the winter months. They migrate there during winter from Alaska because the waters in the area are much warmer than Alaska. Here, they either mate to try and get pregnant, or if they are already pregnant, they nest here to give birth before returning back to arctic waters.

During the peak mating and nesting season, there are many species in the area that you will get a chance to glimpse in their natural habitat. Many people come for the largest ones, which includes humpbacks, grays and blue whales. You may also glimpse orcas, also known as killer whales, mikes and fin backs as well.

There are plenty of options to fit every kind of desired experience when you book your tour. The biggest decision you have to make is whether you want to go on a small or large boat. The smaller ones are almost like speedboats, taking you up close to the animals and giving you a more intimate experience.

If a speedy, up close and personal encounter is not quite your bag, then perhaps the larger boats that are slower and more leisurely is your speed. These often have a snack bar to buy food and drinks, and an inside area that is climate controlled. It is the best options for families with small children, or if anyone in your party has special mobility needs, such as needing a wheelchair or walker to get around. This is by far the more common trip that people book.

You can take a short tour that only lasts a couple of hours if you are short on time. If you have all day, then a day tour that comes back in the evening is ideal. You can even book an overnight experience where you stay in a room on a nearby island, allowing you to maximize the amount of whales you can see.

Whales are not the only sea creatures that are known to gather in the waters surrounding Catalina. In addition, you may see harbor porpoises or even dolphins. In the air, there are seagulls and if you are lucky, bald eagles.

Make sure you book in advance, as tours do fill up quickly. You will also want to keep an eye on the weather, as bad weather can cause the waters to get choppy, which could in turn force the operators to cancel the tour. If the weather is looking bad, call your tour operator and ask if the boats are still going out before heading to the pier.

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