Witness the longest mammal migration in the world, when approximately 20,000 gray whales pass San Diego on their annual 10,000-mile round-trip journey from the Bering Sea to the lagoons of Baja California. 

Private whale watching charters aboard Mai Tai San Diego Yacht Charters

Mai Tai Yacht Charters provides private whale watching trips daily departing from Harbor Island, San Diego. December through April is the prime Grey Whale migration period. Mai Tai Yacht Charters is ideally positioned to take advantage of the annual Grey whale migration, which brings hundreds of Grey Whales along the San Diego coastline within minutes of San Diego Bay. May through November brings warmer waters and the opportunity to view blue whales to 80 feet, finback whales, huge pods of dolphin that number in the thousands, seals, killer whales, sharks, and many other marine creatures. Mai Tai's whale watching cruises are a great experience for families, groups, and companies with a universal appeal to all ages. Join Mai Tai Yacht Charter on one of our cruises or private charter for just your group or company.

Experience some of the best whale watching in Southern California with Mai Tai. Crew members provide full narration and are available for questions during your trip. View the whales from the top observation deck for great photo opportunities. Spectacular views provide for the backdrop to a fun filled event for the whole family. Our experience gives you ample opportunity to view whales and dolphins in their natural habitat.

Mai Tai Yacht Charters has had great success this year finding pods of whales on most every outing. Some days we hit the jackpot with dolphins on the way in and out of the channel and whales in open water. Of course we are always greeted by the sea lions along the way in San Diego Bay. 

Be sure to book your private adventure with Mai Tai Yacht Charters  (858) 583-3447

Whale Watching 101 - San Diego union tribune

From December through April, San Diego gets a prime ringside seat to the migration of more than 20,000 Eastern Pacific gray whales as they make their annual journey from the Bering Sea to the calving lagoons of Baja.

Landlubbers can often spot the whales from the Birch Aquarium’s Tide Pool Plaza, Cabrillo National Monument’s Whale Overlook and the hiking trails at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, but one of the best places to do your watching is from the deck of a ship, preferably with the voice of a whale expert telling you where to look.

Many companies offer whale watching tours, often with narration provided by nature experts. The San Diego Tourism Authority website has a good list. The Flagship and Birch Aquarium tours are offered twice daily from mid-December to mid-April, leaving from the Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego. The morning tours run from 9:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., and the afternoon tours go from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Weekday admission is $20 for children 4 to 12 and $40 for adults. Weekend admission is $23 for kids and $45 for adults.

Delanie Medina, the Birch naturalist who narrated our trip, said the only difference between the morning and afternoon cruises is that you might get more wind in the afternoon. Flagship Cruises has a “Whale Tail Guarantee,” so if you don’t see any whales, your next trip is free.

Bring sunscreen, binoculars and a hat. If you forget any essentials, the snack bar offerings include Dramamine, sunscreen, PB&J sandwiches and beer. But you will need to pack your own supply of Zen.

“My No. 1 tip for whale watching is patience,” said Birch Aquarium education specialist Lisa Gilfillan, who was also on board. “The whales don’t have to do behaviors just because we’re here. It’s really their call on whether to present themselves or not. It’s unpredictable, but that’s part of the adventure, right?”