Blue whale season started off with a bang in Southern California as passengers with Dana Wharf Whale Watching and Davey’s Locker & Newport Coastal Adventure Whale Watching got a special treat. Passengers were able to catch a glimpse of the largest animal on Earth as it traveled from San Clemente up to Newport Beach.

Dana Wharf passengers saw the blue whale Sunday morning. The whale was spotted swimming between the San Clemente Pier and the Dana Point Headlands as it circled around while feeding. At times, it came within a mile of the shoreline.

Dana Wharf Captain Tommy White said, “When you think that the blue whale is the largest animal to live on the planet, bigger than a dinosaur or a megalodon, that is amazing!” 

Drone video taken by Photographer Mark Girardeau for @NewportCoastalAdventure 

The owner of Dana Wharf Whale Watching, Donna Kalez, said, “Seeing the largest animal on the planet takes your breath away and reminds you how truly lucky we are to be able to see this in our own backyard within a few miles of the harbor.”

She added that passengers get a special “I just saw a blue whale with Dana Wharf” button when they spot a blue whale, because it’s such a rare treat.

Additionally, passengers riding with Newport Coastal Adventure later in the day on Sunday were able to see the same blue whale between Laguna Beach and Crystal Cove State Park. The whale was seen feeding in the area and taking its time making its way north for the season. The photographer for Newport Coastal Adventures was able to get incredible drone footage of the blue whale as it swam around.

Photo taken by Photographer Mark Girardeau for @NewportCoastalAdventure 

Blue whale season begins in May and lasts through November. They migrate into California waters beginning in late spring or early summer and spend several months migrating as far north as Alaska. Seeing a blue whale is considered rare, as they are still considered an endangered species.