What kinds of whales and dolphins will you see in Dana Point?

There are many dolphin and whale sightings in Dana point, but what species are they all? There are so many varieties of whales and dolphins that you will see when you are out whale watching. It is always so much more exciting when you recognize what each species is, and you know a little more about them. You can feel closer to nature when they feel more like a family you know. When you head out on that boat, here are some of the wonderful creatures that you might see

1) Grey whale

The grey whale, also known as the California grey whale, is the whale you are most likely to see at Dana Point. They get their name from having grey patches on their skin. They grow to about 50 feet. The population of the species that migrate to the area is about 20,000. That’s a lot of whales.

2) Minke whale

The Minke whale is a type of baleen whale. A baleen is a set of hundreds of plates of fingernail-like material that sifts like a sieve for krill and similar for the whale’s food. The Minke is mostly black or dark grey with a white band on each flipper, and are one of the smallest whales.

3) Humpback whale

The humpback is another baleen whale that ranges from 40 to 50 foot. It has a distinctive body shape and a raised area at the back of its head, giving it the name. It is also one of the favorites for whale watchers as they love to breach, or literally jump, out of the water.

4) Fin whale

The Fin whale is the second largest whale on earth. It is another baleen whale. It is quite happy living in cold water or warm water and it is seen all around the world. As the name implies, it also has a distinct fin on its back.

5) Blue whale

The largest mammal on the planet, also a baleen whale, is the blue whale. It can reach nearly 100 feet in length. It is quite the most amazing site to see a whale of this size leap out of the water when they breach.

6) Sei whale

The Sei whale is the third largest whale and is also a baleen whale. It resides all over the world but avoids extreme temperatures such as arctic cold or tropical warm. They are a blue-grey with a white patch underneath.

7) Brydes whale

A Brydes whale resembles the Sei whale though is a bit larger. They are dark grey on top and white underneath.

8) Sperm whale

A sperm whale has the largest brain of any animal on earth. It is also the largest toothed predator. There is not much that can threaten a sperm whale, though packs of orcas will sometime try for the calves.

9) Orca

The Orca, known as the killer whale, is actually a dolphin. It is the largest species of dolphin and highly intelligent. They will often hunt in packs. It is very recognizable with a black top and a white underneath.

10) Pilot whale

A pilot whale is also a species of dolphin, the second largest. They mainly eat squid and fish, and are a very social animal. It is usually dark grey or black, sometimes brown, with a lighter patch behind the fin, sometimes referred to as a saddle.

12) Common dolphin

The common dolphin is not what you probably picture when you think dolphin, you would probably picture the bottlenose dolphin. The common dolphin has a shorter snout. They can be seen in pods of thousands.

13) Bottlenose dolphin

The bottlenose dolphin is probably the one you are used to seeing. This is the stereotypical “flipper” that you have seen on TV and in most dolphin images. It has a longer, more bottle-shaped. snout than the common dolphin

14) Risso dolphin

This dolphin has a relatively large dorsal fin and a thick body. The face of this dolphin has a very short snout and pronounced forehead. It is often grey with a white chest area. Sometimes the older ones can even seem completely white.

15) Pacific white-sided dolphin

As the name implies, this dolphin has lighter patches on its side, as well as a light chin and belly. The back, snout, flippers, and fin, are dark grey. They can be seen in pods of about 100, and are very friendly and curious.

I hope this list gets you started in learning about the whales and dolphins you might see in Dana Point and elsewhere in California. There is much to learn online for travel and to see the whales. Of course, we barely gave you any information on each, just enough to hopefully get your curiosity started. The guides on your whale watching expedition will tell you so much more. We hope you come to love these wonderful creatures as much as we do. Maybe we will see you out there watching with us some day.

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