Authentic voices. Remarkable stories. AOL On Originals showcase the passions that make the world a more interesting place.
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California travel expert Veronica Hill goes on a whale watching tour aboard the Ocean Institute's Sea Explorer in this episode ...
of California Travel Tips. Along the way, Veronica spots four blue whales, adorable sea lions and a pod of common dolphins.
Tags:Whale Watching in California,California sea life,California travel guide,Dana point tourist attractions,Ocean Institutes Sea Explorer California,veronica hill,whale watching California,whale watching Dana point,californiatraveltips
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Veronica: I’m at Dana point for the weekend and you can't visit this harbor city without doing any whale watching. Whale watching in California is great year round, whether you come in the winter for the gray whales migration or during the summer when the majestic blue whale makes its appearance. Today, I’m riding aboard the ocean institute sea explorer for its marine mammal cruise. We’re heading four miles out to sea in search of the elusive blue whale. If you’re prone to sea sickness I highly recommend this acupressure bands, they’re natural and they work really well. As we exit the harbor, our guide, Carly Banks coincide a group of California sea lions basking in the sun. Carly: So this guys are hanging out, resting up here, the water around us, here is 65 degrees, so pretty cold, they have a thin layer of blubber, and barely even blubber in their flippers. Veronica: The buoys provide a safe haven from predators like orcas and sharks, and they usually don’t venture more than ten miles from land. Continuing our cruise, we make another discovery, it’s a maternal pod of more than 100 common dolphins and their calves. Carly: Around here we commonly have common dolphins and common dolphins have pods in more than a thousands and span for miles and those are called mega pods or super pods. Veronica: As we travel out to sea, captain Peter Heisten keeps a close watch for blue whales. There it is, there’s the blue whale, up 10:30. We realize that the first paring is actually a mother and calf, even at birth blue whale babies is about the size of a hippo. Carly: With that we like to welcome you all to a small club, the blue whale club, only a few people, few percentage of the people on this planet have ever seen a live blue whale. Veronica: To offer a better understanding of whales and foods they eat, Jake and Carly released a plankton net into the ocean. Carly: You guys think we can catch plankton? Hopefully. Keep our fingers cross. And maybe later you’ll get to meet Sheldon Plankton from Spongebob. I’ll introduce you. Veronica: After collecting a concentrated sample of plankton, we head inside the boat for a closer look under the video microscope. We learn that plankton are actually drifting organisms such as animals, plants and bacteria that inhabit the open sea. Blue whales eat about 4 tons of plankton every day. The cruise back to shore is warm and beautiful and we couldn’t have ask for more perfect day. We even pass by the Spirit of Dana point which offers weekend sails through the ocean institute. Today’s outing was a huge success, and we saw four blue whales. If you’re planning a trip to southern California, I highly recommend this tour. Thanks for watching.