Whale hello there.

With the pandemic still surging through Cali, typical date nights are still on hold. So my boyfriend and I usually find ourselves watching movies, hiking and cooking instead. But last Sunday, he was determined to bring some normalcy back into the picture with a surprise whale watching trip through Davey’s Locker.

I squealed like a little girl at the surprise, but then I instantly feared I would get sea sick. The last time I was on a boat in the deep ocean, I puked — and I definitely didn’t want that to happen again. So, this leads to step one of having the ultimate whale watching experience: pack everything you need.

Pack everything you need

As soon as I found out we were going whale watching, I opened my laptop and jumped on Amazon.

Sea-Band on Amazon sells nausea relief wristbands that saved my life. They look like old-school sweatbands that have a small plastic stud. The stud puts pressure on the Nei-Kuan acupuncture points on each wrist, which restores balance to the body. And let me tell you, they work.

Photo courtesy of Ruby McAuliffe

My boyfriend and I felt perfectly fine the entire boat ride and were able to fully enjoy the whale watching experience. 

But getting sea sick isn’t the only thing you have to worry about when you’re sitting under the sun for two hours. It’s also important to stay protected and hydrated.

When sailing through the ocean mist and cool breeze, you feel refreshed. But if you’re anything like me, you get cold easily, so bring a sweater just in case. While you’re shivering on the boat, it’s easy to forget that the sun is still beating down on you. 

Because of this, sunscreen and a hat are a must. The sunscreen protects you from going home with a tomato red sunburn (like my boyfriend), and the hat will keep your head cool (plus it will keep your hair from becoming a bird’s nest). 

Water is just as important, so pack at least a water bottle each. Maybe I didn’t get sea sick that day, but I completely neglected my water intake. So much so, I ended up getting dehydrated and puking (maybe boats just aren’t for me). 

Unless you want an embarrassing moment, order some sea sickness bracelets, pack some sunscreen and a hat and don’t forget to drink water. Oh yeah, and bring a facemask, because we are still in a pandemic afterall. 

Leave early

Once you’ve packed all of your necessities, check your ETA. I’d recommend doing this at least a day before.

This is because beach traffic can be rough, and unless you want your boat to leave without you, you need to beat the traffic.

My boyfriend and I decided to hit the road a full two hours early. This is a bit excessive, but we factored in time to eat some lunch by the beach and walk along the pier. And since you’ll already be driving to the beach, you might as well make a day out of it.

Know you may not see whales 

Now, what the entire experience is all about: whales.

While the whale watching company guarantees you’ll see something, that doesn’t always mean whales. It could mean whales, sharks, dolphins or seals. And an hour and 45 minutes into the ride, I was pretty disappointed.

All we had seen were seals, and they were sunbathing on a bouée before we even left the bay. Technically, the company had fulfilled their promise of seeing something, but all we really saw was the wide open ocean — nothing else. 

Photo courtesy of Ruby McAuliffe

That was until they decided to extend the trip because they heard the whales were farther out than usual. A full 26 miles out, we spotted two gray whales spouting and diving. Their flukes in and out of the water as they traveled the sea. It was everything we wanted.

After heading back from the beautiful sight, the crew told us not every trip gets to see whales, and that we were one of the lucky groups. So be prepared for anything. Afterall, they are free, wild animals.

Have a good time

Even if you don’t see whales, or if you do, the experience is truly one for the books. 

Photo courtesy of Ruby McAuliffe

Having been locked up for eight months now, this experience is an opportunity to remember there is a big world out there that is still beautiful and good. And if you’re with someone you care about, then it makes it all the better.