Frequently Asked Questions
Our Pacific Offshore Expeditions are not your typical whale watching trip, which makes them all the more special and successful! Here's some answers to your questions.
Why are 8 hour trips only on Fridays?
Pacific Offshore Expeditions is a brand of experience offered by Newport Coastal Adventure (NCA). All of the boats we use for extended expeditions are utilized on a daily basis for standard 2.5 hour whale watching trips. It is more profitable for NCA to operate the Zodiacs on 2.5 hour trips because the ticket price is around $75 per person, and on busy days we have demand to run 3 or 4 trips per day. This means our boats can earn up to 60% more revenue running four 2.5 hour trips all day instead of doing one 8 hour trip.
For this reason, most of the time the weekends are reserved for shorter trips where the economics are better. Occasionally if a weekend is projected to be slow for 2.5 hour trip bookings, we will schedule an 8 hour expedition.
Is there a bathroom on board the boat?
It depends on which boat we are scheduling for the trip. If we have more than 10 passengers signed up, we will be taking the 36' Shearwater which does have a toilet on board. About 50% of our trips end up aboard this boat, while the other half are hosted on the 30' Tern. If you have to goto the bathroom on the Tern, there is the ability to take care of business off the back of the boat, if you possess a basic level of physical agility.
Otherwise, our 8 hour trips are planned around a shoreside visit to Catalina Island, where a proper restroom may be utilized. This stop always occurs anywhere from 4.5 to 5.5 hours into the duration of our trip.
It is reccommended that you eat and drink lightly on the morning of your trip so you can focus on enjoying yourself with the whales and dolphins, and not be too concerned with your bladder. For 95% of our passengers, it presents no issue to "hold it" until we break at Catalina Island between 1230pm and 130pm.
Am I going to get wet?
Well, we don't want anyone to get wet but the ocean is going to make the final decision. Our trips are scheduled (and at times cancelled) to reduce the risk of a soaking. But please be prepared that you could get sprayed. If you are carrying electronics or camera equipment it's important that you plan to protect them from water. The Zodiacs are open boats with no interior cabin. However, they are very seaworthy and capable crafts which are designed for open ocean operation. Overall, it would seem about 1/3 of our trips end up with passengers taking some spray, and it typically will happen on the way home at the end of the day.
When is the best time to see Killer Whales?
This is definitely a frequently asked question! But we cannot even begin to answer it the way that most people want to hear it answered. There just isn't a good or best or reasonable time to expect to see Killer Whales. They will appear when they appear. Most typically, Killer Whales are seen by whale watching boats less than a dozen days per year in Southern California. A majority of these sightings occur between August and January.
Can I fly my drone from the boat?
Flying a drone from a boat is more challenging than you might imagine. That's because the boat is always drifting, which means when launching a drone, you have to immediately fly your aircraft away from the boat without hesitation. When recovering a drone, you have to dynamically fly it into the hands of someone to catch it for you. All of this is happening as the boat is pitching and rolling by 5 to 10 degrees. The majority of people cannot execute these maneuvers without significant practice. For this reason, we don't allow passengers to fly drones on public trips, as it presents significant risk of injury or inconvenience to other passengers. If you would like to privately charter one of our boats to focus on drone flying, we are totally fine with that! Please bring someone who can assist you in hand launching and catching your drone.