Newport Beach And Balboa Island, CA

What a place to start our first California adventure! We stayed at a basic hotel in Newport Beach, as we were only staying here for one night. After breakfast we drove and parked on Balboa Island. It’s a picturesque place and as it was coming up to Halloween, we spent some time looking at some of the fabulously decorated houses. We even made a new furry friend!

We took the ferry across to the peninsula. The kids loved watching people fishing off of the Balboa Pier. We stopped at Ruby’s Diner on the pier to get a quick lunch. I had the cinnamon bun French toast which was absolutely amazing and big enough to share!

After lunch, we took the ferry back to Balboa Island for a whale watching tour with East Meets West Excursions. We chose a smaller boat tour in the hope of getting a more personal experience. We met Captain Nick and headed out to sea. Luckily, we had the boat to ourselves.

Once we cleared the harbour it was full throttle out to sea! It was a fast and fun ride. We spent the first half an hour looking for wildlife and we wondered whether we would have a hard time spotting anything that day. Nick was on the radio to other captains and there was a sighting of a large pod of dolphins nearby. We were off again racing across the waves to catch up to the dolphins.

Nick got us in position ahead of the dolphins to let them catch up to us. We were soon amongst hundreds of common dolphins passing us and playing around us on all sides. Captain Nick invited us to sit up on the front of the boat whilst we moved forward with the dolphins.

There were dolphins everywhere, as far as the eye could see. We were now amongst a mega pod, of more than five hundred dolphins and some yellow fin tuna too.

We spent around fifteen minutes with the dolphins before it was time to head back to shore and we made one last stop on the way back into the harbour to see the sea lions, taking a break in the sun.

We had an amazing time out on the boat with Captain Nick, who is an amazing guide. He was great with the kids and very passionate about our experience. Balboa has so much to offer. We will definitely be back!

‘The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.’

Jacques Cousteau


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