Recent Sightings Archives

Orcas, Monterey Bay with Santa Cruz Whale Watching. March 2013. Photo: Carol Harmon

Orcas and Blue Whales

ORCAS Thursday 4/16 – It was nature in action as we witnessed a pack of four orca hunt and ultimately kill a seal for their food. We also saw three (!) blue whales, with huge blows and tail-slapping behaviors. See VIDEO on our Facebook page.

whale watching

Orcas, Monterey Bay with Santa Cruz Whale Watching. March 2013. Photo: Carol Harmon

Humpback whale fluke, Monterey Bay with Santa Cruz Whale Watching. PHOTO: STEVE LOOS

Whales, Dolphins, Beautiful Monterey Bay!

Here are the latest sightings on Monterey Bay: On Tuesday April 14 we saw one dozen humpback whales! The whales gave us some good drive-bys for close looks at these amazing animals! Whales were spotted in the center of the Bay near Monterey Canyon, about 5 miles offshore from Santa Cruz. There were at least 200 sea lions and 200 short-beaked common dolphins near Capitola, about 6 miles out.

There are at least 5 species of dolphins and porpoises seen throughout the year in Monterey Bay. The short-beaked common dolphin is a species of Common Dolphin. The color pattern on the body is unusual. The back is dark and the belly is white, while on each side is an hourglass pattern colored light grey, yellow or gold in front and dirty grey in back.

We are also enjoying the seasonal appearance of the Velella, a relative of jellyfish. These bright blue, “sailed” creatures blow along the ocean surface and onto our local beaches.

Humpback whales are abundant this season in Monterey Bay! They are arriving early for their annual feeding season. Since April 1 we’ve also spotted blue whales, Orca, and gray whales completing their annual migration. Join us on a whale watching trip on board Velocity! Our whale watching trips depart out of Santa Cruz at the north end of Monterey Bay. BUY TICKETS

monterey whale watching

Humpback Whale Tail, Monterey Bay, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching. Photo: Michael Nelson

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monterey whale watching

Common Short Beaked Dolphin, sea birds near Capitola on Monterey Bay, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching. Photo: Michael Nelson

humpback whales monterey bay photo: joey stagnaro

First Blue Whale of the Season

Over the weekend we saw the first blue whale of the season! Plus a few Orcas were spotted in the last few days near Monterey. Whale watching Monterey – abundant marine wildlife to be seen this spring!

Sightings Report for Wednesday, April 8, 2015: One BLUE WHALE, 8 HUMPBACK WHALES – 2 of which showed us all their tricks – and 200+ COMMON DOLPHINS!

Next whale watching trips are Thursday 4/9 at 10:30 AM, Sunday, 4/12 at noon. Call 831-427-0230

Now’s your chance to see blue whales, humpback whales, gray whales, dolphins and possible orcas! All have been sighted in Monterey Bay this week.

Blue Whale, Monterey Bay, June 2012. Photo: Gene Manako

Blue Whale, Monterey, June 2012. Photo: GManako

Blue Whale, Monterey Bay, June 2012. Photo: Gene Manako

Blue Whale, Monterey, June 2012. Photo: GManako

Whale Watching Monterey CA

Whales and Dolphins on Monday

Monday, March 30, 2015: Wonderful sights of humpback whales in Monterey Bay! On today’s Monterey whale watching trip we saw eight humpback whales.Several whales were feeding and surfacing near the boat. At one point one animal showed us a spectacular tail throw! The humpback whales were spotted in Monterey Bay North near Santa Cruz. Then we had dolphins! A pod of about 200 common dolphins were swimming, leaping, and bow riding with the boat.

Gray whales will continue their migration through the Spring season, crossing Monterey Bay on their northbound trip back from Baja to Alaska feeding grounds.We’ll be out looking to spot grays on whale watching trips all week. Whale Watching out of Santa Cruz Harbor run daily through Friday, April 3 – Get your tickets now: BUY TICKETS.

Our 60-foot eco-powered touring boat, Velocity, accommodates up to 65 passengers comfortably. Our galley snack bar serves grilled burgers, snacks, coffee and cold drinks. See the Monterey Bay on Velocity!

PHoto: DJ Nordland. Velocity - Stagnaro Charter Boats, August 2014

PHoto: DJ Nordland.
Velocity – Stagnaro Charter Boats

whale watching monterey

Whales and Dolphins Monterey Bay

Saturday, March 21, 2015: Breaching humpback whales! We saw a total of 8 humpbacks across Monterey Bay and near Santa Cruz, plus a small group of common dolphins.

Sunday, March 22, 2015: Counted 12 humpback whales doing every kind of behavior, and 200 common dolphins out in Monterey Bay.

Monday, March 23, 2015: Five gray whales feeding – a rare sight! The gray whales took a migration break to feed in about 35 feet of water just off Santa Cruz, on the north side of Monterey Bay. Also had some close “drive-bys” from the gray whales today. We saw 200 common dolphins – the dolphins were breaching and bow-riding and having a great time!

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Whale watching Monterey

3-20-15 Humpback whale breach sequence, Monterey Bay with Santa Cruz Whale Watching. Photo Courtesy: Geoff & Tommy Mitchell

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Gray Whale northbound migration in full swing now through April, early May!
Read 5 fun facts about gray whales http://www.opb.org/news/article/five-insights-into-the-gray-whales-that-migrate-past-oregon-twice-a-year/

Join us for year-round marine wildlife adventure! Next Monterey whale watching trips are Wednesday and Friday this week, and daily whale watching next week for Spring Break starting March 28- April 3. FIND OUR FULL SCHEDULE HERE: https://www.zerve.com/Stagnaros/Whale

Commitment to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Our main tour boat Velocity is now powered by brand new engines that meet the latest EPA standards in clean burning, fuel saving marine motors. These engines are quiet, no gassy smell, and fast!

See the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary with Santa Cruz Whale Watching!
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Gray Whale spy hop. Monterey Bay, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching. Photo: Michael Nelson

Migrating Gray Whales Put on a Show

Tuesday, March 17: For St Patrick’s Day we had really exciting showings from five gray whales migrating across Monterey Bay. We were able to observe a group of three gray whales for 45 minutes up the coast. The whales were exhibiting lots of behaviors we don’t always get to see from grays: chin slapping, spy-hops, a great show from gray whales. Then we saw two more gray whales breaching out of the water about 3 miles off the Santa Cruz coastline. We also had a super fun pod of long beaked common dolphins riding alongside the boat!

whale watching monterey

Long beaked common dolphins. Monterey Bay, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching. Photo: Michael Nelson

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Twice every year over 20,000 gray whales pass through Monterey Bay waters off of Santa Cruz. The first time occurs from December through mid February when they are migrating south from the cold arctic waters of the Bering Sea to their winter calving grounds off of the Baja Peninsula. Then north again to their summer feeding grounds in the Bering Sea of Alaska. Northbound whales are usually traveling across Monterey Bay from mid February through April.

This 10,000+ mile round-trip is one of the longest migrations of any animal known. Peak northbound migration is around mid March. The gray whale can reach 45′ long. Females are usually larger than males. During their migration they are constantly traveling at 2-4 miles per hour. This can make for ideal viewing. Gray whales will sound (dive) for 2-5 minutes, sometimes longer. Their northern migration tends to be more social and leisurely. At times they can be spotted mating, breaching and “spy-hopping”.

Join us for year-round marine wildlife adventure! Next whale watching trips are Friday, March 20 at 11:00 AM, Saturday, March 21 at 12:00 PM and Sunday the 22nd at 10:00 AM. Spring Break Trips on offer, too! Whale watching trips run Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week.

See the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary with Santa Cruz Whale Watching!

TICKETS

Commitment to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Our main tour boat Velocity is now powered by brand new engines that meet the latest EPA standards in clean burning, fuel saving marine motors. These engines are quiet, no gassy smell, and fast!SC-WHALE-home

whale watching monterey

Amazing! Breaching humpback and gray whales

Friday, March 13: Breaching humpback whales! Friday we saw ten humpback whales displaying epic surface behaviors – breaching, tail throwing, and pec-slapping right next to the boat. The action took place near Soquel Canyon  on the Santa Cruz side of Monterey Bay. Pleasant ocean conditions!
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whale watching monterey

Photo: Michael Nelson

Saturday, March 14: Whale watchers amazed by 45 minutes of breaches from a single humpback whale, followed by a pair of humpbacks feeding and diving. We also saw a pair of gray whales apparently mating, and a single “wheelie-popping” gray whale also breached!

Typical whale surface behaviors. http://www.wildlife-viewing-photography-tours.com/whale-watching.htm

Typical whale surface behaviors.

Click here to see more about whales and whale behavior.

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Humpback whale breach with Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey. Saturday, March 7, 2015. Photo: Michael Nelson

Great whale watching this week!

Here are the latest sightings whale watching on Monterey Bay.
Friday, March 6— We saw at least 8 humpback whales and 100 common dolphins.

Common Dolphins, Monterey Bay, March 2015. Photo: Michael Nelson

Common Dolphins, Monterey Bay, March 2015. Photo: Michael Nelson

Saturday, March 7— Great looks near and far of 8-10 humpback whales and amazing surface behavior: breaching, tail flips, pec-slapping! Plus 20-30 common dolphins bow riding alongside the boat.

Whale Watching Monterey 3/7/15. Photo: Michel Nelson

Whale Watching Monterey 3/7/15. Photo: Michel Nelson

Sunday, March 8— Group of 5-8 humpback whales were feeding and surfacing very close to the boat! We stayed and watched the action for over an hour.

Wednesday, March 11— A little rain won’t stop us! The sun came out as we ventured out onto flat calm seas. Passengers were treated to more surface feeding and activity near the boat by 4-5 humpback whales. Great looks at 2 gray whales on northbound migration. Check out some video from March 11 on our Facebook page CLICK HERE

Join us for year-round marine wildlife adventure! Next whale watching trips are Friday, March 13 at 10:30 AM, Saturday, March 14 at 12:00 PM and Sunday the 15th at 10:00 AM. We’ve got a Tuesday trip next week on Saint Patrick’s Day! See the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary with Santa Cruz Whale Watching!

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

Commitment to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Our main tour boat Velocity is now powered by brand new engines that meet the latest EPA standards in clean burning, fuel saving marine motors. These engines are quiet, have no gassy smell, and fast!

Velocity, Star of Stagnaro Charter Boats on Monterey Bay

Velocity, Star of Stagnaro Charter Boats/ Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay.

Santa Cruz County Visitor Center website is full of places to stay and more things to do in Santa Cruz on beautiful Monterey Bay.

photo Michael Nelson.

Humpback whales near Santa Cruz

Saturday and Sunday we had 10-15 humpback whales each day, most whales are in the north bay on the Santa Cruz side of Monterey Bay. On Sunday, March 1, we had lunge feeding humpback whales at the surface, and witnessed several breaches in the distance. We saw 500-1000 common dolphins on both trips out this weekend! Today reports from the harbor that humpback whales can be seen breaching and lunge feeding on anchovies just a few miles offshore. Tickets available for whale watching trips this weekend: CLICK HERE TO BUY ONLINE

Double rainbow on Saturday! photo: Michael Nelson

Double rainbow at the harbor on Saturday! photo: Michael Nelson

Humpback whale, Monterey Bay  on Saturday 2/28/15 photo: Michael Nelson

Humpback whale, Monterey Bay on Saturday 2/28/15 photo: Michael Nelson

Common Dolphins, Monterey Bay, 2/28/15 photo: Michael Nelson

Common Dolphins, Monterey Bay, 2/28/15 photo: Michael Nelson

Common Dolphin, Monterey Bay, March 1, 2015. photo: Michael Nelson

Common Dolphin, Monterey Bay, March 1, 2015. photo: Michael Nelson

photo: Michael Nelson

Dolphins and Birds! photo: Michael Nelson

Photos courtesy Michael Nelson. Thanks!

Don’t forget the time change this weekend! Clocks “Spring Forward” overnight on March 8th.