Recent Sightings Archives

June 8 - Breaching Humpback Whales, Monterey Bay, CA photo: Michael Nelson

Fin whales, humpbacks, blues and Risso’s dolphins

Tues 6/21 30 Risso’s dolphins, 100 common dolphins, 2 lunge-feeding humpback whales — Just 3 miles out!

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6/16-20 FIN WHALES! + humpback whales, sharks at the cement ship

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Wed 6/15 Two humpback whales, tail throws (windy!)

Mon 6/13 The blue whales are back in the Santa Cruz side of the bay only 5 miles out from Natural Bridges

BLUE WHALE

BLUE WHALE

Sun 6/12 – 10 blue whales and this lovely Night Heron

Night Heron at the Santa Cruz Harbor

Night Heron at the Santa Cruz Harbor

orca, killer whales, santa cruz, monterey

Amazing encounters with orca and humpback whales

Wednesday June 8 – Today we came across a frisky humpback who put on a show: breaching, chin slaps, tail slaps and feeding for over an hour. A great day on Monterey Bay! #WorldOceansDay

Monday, June 6 – Amazing encounters with orca and humpback whales!
We came across 8 playful and friendly orcas who came right up to the boat. It seemed the older animals were training infant orcas to leap and lunge. The humpbacks were sleepy but showed some tail slapping/ curled fluke slapping,  too.

Orcas again this weekend!

June 6, 2016 Sightings Report for the weekend

Monday: 8 playful friendly Orcas today, out in the fog, plus 6 sleepy Humpback Whales.

Sunday: 10 Orcas — 6 of them swam under the boat! Plus a huge pod of Common Dolphins

Saturday: Humpback whales – lunge feeding

Friday: Humpback whales – breaching!

All our activity this weekend has been on Santa Cruz side of the bay near the Soquel Hole.

ORCA 6-5-16, photo: Jenn Yuhas

ORCA 6-5-16, photo: Jenn Yuhas

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Special Sighting – Fin Whales

June 1, 2016
Yesterday Fin Whales 2 by 2 cruised by the boat! That’s a rare sighting this close in. We’ve seen countless feeding blue whales and endless flirty humpbacks all week… We’ve been watching the blues just 3-4 miles out from Santa Cruz!

Fin Whales Santa Cruz Monterey Bay

Fin Whales 2 by 2 just a few miles out from Santa Cruz – photo Jenn Yuhas

We’ve noticed an unusual blue whale surface behavior: a sort of “charge” where they gain speed and blast across the water’s surface.
Join us this weekend to see the amazing wildlife of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary!
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blue whale, santa cruz

20 Blue Whales Today

May 30, 2016: We continue to delight seeing BLUE WHALES in great numbers for several weeks now. Today we counted about 20 blue whales, diving/feeding. Also several humpback whales, breaches, plus sea lions, sun-fish, jellies.

May 30, 2016: We continue to delight seeing BLUE WHALES in great numbers for several weeks now. Today we counted about 20 blue whales, diving/feeding. Also several humpback whales, breaches, plus sea lions, sun-fish, jellies. (Video: Michael Nelson)

whale watching monterey blue

Blue whales are the stars this week

We’ve had amazing BLUE WHALES in big numbers on all trips this week!

Wednesday, May 25 — Surrounded by BLUE WHALE spouts today- showing flukes today near Santa Cruz! Also, humpback whales in the bay! A few were tail-throwing and pec-slapping at the surface.

Sunday, May 22 –Many blue whales again. Wonderful sightings – they are quite actively diving to feed in the deep waters, giving as great flukes. Humpback whales also active in the bay.

Saturday, May 21 — 15 Blue Whales!! Diving; great looks at flukes. Plus otters, sea lions, migrating birds and dolphins!

Blue whale tail Monterey Bay, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching

Blue whale tail Monterey Bay, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Photo: Michael Nelson

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Earlier in May we had a week with large groups of active Orcas, hunting in Monterey Bay. It is amazing to see these fantastic “killer whales” out in nature.

Monterey Bay Orca

Monterey Bay Orcas Photo: Michael Nelson

Monterey Bay Orca Santa Cruz Whale Watching

Monterey Bay Orcas Photo: Michael Nelson

Monterey whale watching

Humpback whale pectoral fin

 

Springtime Monterey Bay - humpback whale feeding on krill

Chance to see up to 3 whale species!

Sunday, May 1 Four humpback whales feeding on krill, lots of surface behavior, good looks at the whales! One gray whale.

Sat, April 30 This morning we got lucky with humpback whales near shore, just a few miles off of Santa Cruz, plus and mama & baby gray whales! 

Over the last four weeks we’ve seen orca on 4-5 different occasions and blue whale three times! Also sharks, otters, sea lions, birds and all the natural beauty of Monterey Bay.

Here’s a great article about our transient killer whales, their behavior and hunting patterns here in the bay: Gary Griggs, Our Ocean Backyard: Killers in Monterey Bay

Wild Orca, Monterey Bay - April 13, 2016. Photo: Michael Nelson

Wild Orca, Monterey Bay – April 13, 2016. Photo: Michael Nelson

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Blue whale near Santa Cruz, Dolphins, Sharks

4/27/16 sightings today — Humpback whales, a great look at a BLUE WHALE, and 200 common dolphins – the blue whale and dolphins were just 3 miles out from Santa Cruz!

Over the weekend — Sunday 4/24 Humpback whales feeding on krill near the Soquel Canyon, and a pod of Risso’s Dolphins, plus otters!

dolphins monterey whale watching

Risso’s Dolphins Monterey Bay 4-23-16 M. Nelson

Saturday 4/23 we had a friendly juvenile humpback whale investigate the boat, out near the Monterey Canyon, and spotted several other humpbacks in the area. Then we swung up the coast by the cement ship in hopes of seeing some sharks. Indeed, we spotted a great white shark scavenging a small gray whale carcass in shallow water off the beach. It was amazing to watch.

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April 20: Gray whales and calves!

Wednesday Sightings: Today we spotted a large echelon of 7 gray whales along the Santa Cruz coastline; we were able to follow along their path up towards Long Marine Lab. There were at least 2 calves in the group, who were unusually curious, popping their heads above water. Neat interactions! Then we found a few groups of humpback whales near Santa Cruz — Beautiful calm day on the bay!

Blue Whale, Monterey Bay with Santa Cruz Whale Watching

Gorgeous blue whale, humpback whales, playful common dolphins

4/17/16: Sunday Sightings: 20 humpback whales spread out, feeding throughout the Bay, some fun surface behaviors including tail and pec slaps. On the way back in we were joined by a large pod of common dolphins, swimming along side the boat and riding surf!

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Common Dolphins, Monterey Bay, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching, April 17, 2016. photo” M. Nelson

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Common Dolphins, Monterey Bay, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching

Common Dolphins, Monterey Bay, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching, April 17, 2016. photo” M. Nelson

4/16/16 Saturday Sightings: 6 humpback whales and one mighty blue whale!!

4/14/16 Thursday we were visited by a trio of humpback whales; they gave us super close-up looks, feeding on krill, and pec/tail-slapping. We saw a few albatross and lots of California sea otters in the kelp.

Humpback, Monterey Bay, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching

Humpback “tail slap” Monterey Bay, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching, April 17, 2016. photo” M. Nelson

Over the last few weeks, we’ve had several days with amazing views of Orca in the wild. Here is some fantastic video from our April 3rd trip. ORCA VIDEO by Franzi Samanek