Cabrillo National Monument
The Most Beautiful Spot in Southern California
I have long wanted to do this blog and article about Cabrillo National Monument in the Point Loma section of San Diego.
Cabrillo National Monument is actually a huge park which encompasses views of San Diego, San Diego Bay and The Pacific Ocean at over 700 feet above sea level.
Cabrillo National Monument offers amazing views of San Diego including the most spectacular shots in the winter after a snow in the mountians. Photographers run up there for downtown shots that have snow capped mountains in the back ground. There are miles of walking trails, an visitors center with educational movies and a bookstore, and also the first light house in San Diego, a section set aside for whale watching, amazing tidal pools and cliff side scenery and landscapes which are rare in Southern California without being littered with homes, fences etc....
I know a lot of people who live in San Diego who have never been there and for anyone who is planning on visiting the area make sure you spend a half a day here and you will not be disappointed. For those folks who like taking pictures, you can burn up a ton of film or shots here with a huge variety of subjects including the tidal pools and cliff side landscapes and the amazing views of downtown San Diego.
SoCal Beaches Magazine has designated Cabrillo National Monument "The Most Scenic Coastal Spot" in all of Southern California!
Check out some of the photos below and see for yourself why this place is so special!
photos by sean callahan for Socal Beaches Magazine www.socalbeachmag.net - all rights reserved-
View more photos of Cabrillo National Monument
Each winter the Pacific Gray Whales pass by the western overlooks of Cabrillo National Monument. After spending the summer feeding in the food-rich waters of the arctic, the Grays swim south along the coast to the bays of Baja California, where they mate and nurse their young. Along the way they pass Point Loma and Cabrillo National Monument, where you can witness the annual winter journey.
When To See Whales
Mid January is the peak of the migration, but the Grays are visible mid-December through March. The heights around the park's Whale Overlook and Old Point Loma Lighthouse offer the best viewing. Bring binoculars if you have them. Binoculars make viewing much easier and more enjoyable. It is possible to see a whale at any time of the day (they swim 24 hours a day)! Park staff will happily help you spot a whale if possible. Check at the visitor center for information about ranger talks and whale watching. A movie about the Pacific Gray Whale is shown daily during the Whale Watch season.
Where to Look
Look west from the park overlooks, toward the ocean. The whales are migrating from the arctic to the warm bays of Baja California and mainland Mexico, so they will be moving from the north (right), to the south (left) as you look from the park. Expect them to be moving at a steady speed of four or five knots (about five miles per hour). Although some swim close to shore, most whales swim in an area that extends from the kelp beds (about 3/4 miles out) out to the horizon. Binoculars are an immense help, so bring a pair if possible. A limited number of binoculars are available with a picture i.d. at the park visitor center during the whale season; ask for them at the information desk.
NOTE: Later, in the spring, the gray whales will migrate north again, but they are generally too far out in the ocean to see from the park, even with binoculars.
What to Look For:
The Blow or Spout
A gray whale's blow is up to 15 feet high, and each blow is visible for about 5 seconds. When warm, moist air exhaled from the animals' lungs, meets the cool air at the ocean surface, it creates the bushy column we call a blow, or spout. Anticipate that the whale will dive for 3 to 6 minutes, then surface for 3 to 5 blows in row, 30 to 50 seconds apart, before diving deep for 3 to 6 minutes again.
The Flukes (Tail)
Before making a long, deep dive, a gray whale often displays its 12 foot wide fan shaped flukes, or tail. The weight of the tail above the whale's body helps the whale to dive deep. The gray whale normally swims about 5 miles per hour about the speed of a child on a bicycle. The flukes have no bones and connect to the body and tail muscles by banks of tendons.
The Knuckled Back
If the lighting is right, and if the whale is close enough, it is possible to see the back of a gray whale during and after the blow. It is shiny and black or gray, with a knuckled ridge along the spine. After the whale submerges you may note an elongated, smooth oval of calm water, known as a footprint, where the whale has been.
Breach and Splash
Gray whales occasionally hurl themselves out of the water and plunge back in with a tremendous splash! This is called a whale breach. Scientist do not know why gray whales do this, but it is very exciting sight to see! Sometimes other whales in the area will copy this behavior, so keep your eyes open.
Once you have spotted a Whale
Remember that they are migrating south, which is to your left as you look west out over the ocean from Cabrillo National Monument. Once you have spotted a whale, you can expect that it will surface again to the south. Gray whales swim in a cycle of 3 to 5 blows, 30 to 50 seconds apart, followed by a deep dive lasting 3 to 6 minutes. After watching an individual Gray Whale you will be able to anticipate its unique rhythm of breaths and dives, and where it will surface next.
Southern California Places to Visit
Cabrillo National Monument Point Loma
This national park is located on a penninsula at the end of Point Loma and offers 360 degree views of San Diego, San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
Visitors enjoy hiking, amazing views, tidal pools, educational programming, whale watching and a taste of historical San Diego!
Come with us and check out SoCal Beaches Magazine's vote for most scenic location in Southern California!
Cabrillo National Monument and Tidal Pools click here
The La Jolla Children's Pool "Home of the Harbor Seals
Every month an estimated 80,000 people go the La Jolla to see the seals and seal pups laying out and relaxing on the beach.
Come with us and visit this very popular spot for both San Diego locals and tourists.
The La Jolla Childrens Pool - 850 Coast Blvd. La Jolla Ca.
The Ocean Beach Pier -
The Longest Concrete Pier on the West Coast
The Ocean Beach Pier is one of the best spots to take off and visit for a great walk, lunch or breakfast at The Pier Cafe, some great surf watching or for some fresh ocean air. Come with us as we spend an afternoon at The Ocean Beach Pier and see what makes it such a great place to visit!
The Ocean Beach Pier & Pier Cafe
A Day at Belmont Park Amusement Park Mission Beach
Belmont park in Mission Beach has been entertaining guests in San Diego for over 80 years. Visit Belmont Park and find great shopping, restaurants, amusement rides, arcade games and more.
Belmont Park & The Giant Dipper Roller Coaster Mission Beach
A Day at Black's Beach - San Diego's Nude Beach
What is a day at Black's Beach like? We take the test and go to visit this world famous beach below the cliffs of The Torrey Pines Glider Port in La Jolla.
Blacks beach, Southern California's only nude beach
Socal Beaches Magazine
Aerial Photos of The Cabrillo National Monument Peninsula
Take a 360 degree look around the peninsula that makes up the Cabrillo National Monument.
This area comprises views of San Diego Bay, Downtown San Diego and The Pacific Ocean.
* photos by sean callahan for SoCal Beaches Magazine - all rights reserved -
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