Whales are vacationing in Santa Cruz County

Monterey Whale Watching – Whales Are Vacationing in Santa Cruz County

SANTA CRUZ — Santa Cruz County is playing host this month to scores of whales, including blue whales, often 70 feet long and weighing more than 100 tons.

Normally active during the winter months in Santa Cruz County, about 20,000 breaching gray whales can be seen during their annual migration along the California coast. However, krill will be plentiful this month, so the Santa Cruz County Conference & Visitors Council encourages travelers to visit the area to take advantage of the activity in the bay and opt for a whale-watching excursion while visiting.

Blue whales, fin whales and orcas have been spotted in the nutrient-rich waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Most whale-watching excursions last three to four hours, and prices start at around $40 per person except for chartered tours.

The sanctuary’s Exploration Center near the Santa Cruz Wharf is designed to give visitors a greater appreciation of the sanctuary. Part of the 12,400-square-foot center includes an open-ocean mini-theater, which uses migratory species such as whales to tell the story of the three seasons of the sanctuary and how they affect the weather, water surface conditions and kelp forest growth.

For a full listing of companies offering whale-watching excursions in Santa Cruz County, or for information about the Exploration Center and a guide to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, call 800-833-3494 or visit SantaCruz.org.

June 30, 2013