Whale watching without leaving the shore - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Whale watching without leaving the shore

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – It is prime time for whale watching in San Diego as migration season hits its peak.

Every year, gray whales make their journey south, passing through San Diego’s coastline.

With whale watching at its peak, whale watchers are boarding tour boats to catch an up-close glimpse.

While taking a whale watching boat excursion is a safe bet to get a glimpse of whales on their migration journey, whale watchers are also flocking to the Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma.

"We've had a lot of visitors this whale watching season. It's been pretty phenomenal actually,” said Ranger Bonnie Phillips.

Phillips said the vantage point at Cabrillo National Monument is unique. It’s at 423-feet above sea level, and there is a spot called the Kelp Forest Overlook that was designed for whale watching.

The key is to look for a heart shaped spout. From there, follow the whales as they travel about five-miles-per-hour.

“The males tend to be solitary, and the females move with their calves,” said marine biologist Johnny Jones.

Jones said most whales are currently heading north, but the easiest ones to spot are those going south.

"For the most part, you're seeing the grey whales. They tend to stay closer to shore,” said Jones. 

Visitors who do not own their own tools to see the whales can go to the visitor’s center where binoculars can be checked out with an identification.

“Binoculars or a scope is definitely the way to go here. You can see the spout with the naked eye, but then you want those binoculars so you get a close up of the whale,” said Jones. 

Whale watching season officially ends in April.

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