Recent Sightings Archives

Otter party! Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Tina Hughes

Sharing the wonders of Monterey Bay marine life

Sunday, September 14, 2014: Yesterday our whale watching trip was another rewarding adventure! We had a great group of visitors from around the world to our next door neighbors, sharing the wonders of Monterey Bay marine life. Among the sights:

  • 100s of common dolphins
  • Humpback whales – One big breach near to the boat!
  • Dozens of otters and California sea lions

After the trip we received a note from one of our guests, Tina, who wrote:

“…We were so lucky; we got to see so many whales, a slumber party of otters and some beautiful dolphins and sea lions.  The highlight was obviously when one of the humpbacks decided to breach and I was so astounded, that I did not get it on film but I did get lots of pictures of gorgeous whale tails and of course the otters… “

Well, Tina, we have that moment for you with this photo sent in by another passenger!

humpback whale breach

Humpback whale breach, Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Colin Wade

Thank you to Jeff Wade for sending this image. Photo credit goes to his son, Colin Wade.

More images from Sunday’s whale watching trip on Monterey Bay
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Humpback whale tail, Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Tina Hughes

Humpback whale tail, Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Tina Hughes

Humpback whale tail, Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Tina Hughes

Humpback whale tail, Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Tina Hughes

Humpback whale tail, Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Tina Hughes

Humpback whale tail, Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Tina Hughes

Common Dolphins, Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Tina Hughes

Common Dolphins, Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Tina Hughes

Otter party! Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Tina Hughes

Otter party! Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Tina Hughes

Humback Whales still giving a great show in Monterey Bay

Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014

Whale Watchers on Monterey Bay saw about 30 Humpbacks showing off their tricks.  One passenger took over 600 pictures!

Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014

Santa Cruz Whale Watching passengers oohed over about 10 Humpbacks in Monterey Bay.  We also were thrilled by 50 Common Dolphin, Sea Otters and Sea Lions.  Even a small Sun Fish or “Mola Mola” showed up to play.

Friday, Sept. 12

The Humpback Whales were having fun in the sun today on Monterey Bay!  We were graced by about 15 Humpbacks on the Santa Cruz side of the Soquel Hole.  They were showing us their surface behaviors such as Breaching, Peck Slapping and Tail Throwing.  Whale Watching on Monterey Bay continues to amaze!

Orca, Monterey Bay, CA. September 2014.
Photo: Michael Nelson

Humpback whales, dolphins, orcas active in Monterey Bay

Thursday, September 4, 2014: Today on Sea Stag Six we saw a pod of 5 orcas, including mama and calf practicing their spy hops together! For quite a while we were also able to observe a group of docile humpbacks surfacing amidst a raft of sea lions. But we have to admit the orcas kind of stole the show.

September 3 – 7: Great trips all week! We’ve been running busy whale watching trips on both our boats – Velocity  and Sea Stag. Every time out we’re seeing humpback whales this side of Monterey Bay near Santa Cruz. We watched a pair of humpbacks right off the Lighthouse/ Steamer Lane.  Whales feeding on large schools of anchovies are being seen from the Harbor-mouth along West Cliff Drive all the way to Natural Bridges. As well as the near-shore sightings we see multiple animals offshore 4-6 miles out over the Soquel Hole and deep water canyons Santa Cruz side of Monterey Bay.  Humpbacks near and far can be seen breaching, tail throwing, pec-slapping – We see about 25 whales each trip!

Common dolphins have been joining us, bow-riding with the boat out in deeper waters, and we’ve been seeing bottlenose dolphins right outside the Harbor, too!

August 23, 2014 Monterey Bay humpback whales. Photo: Michael Nelson

Whales and dolphins all near Santa Cruz

Wednesday, August 27, 2014: Lots of whale and dolphin action this week on the Santa Cruz side of the bay, about 5-6 miles out from the Santa Cruz Harbor, over the Soquel Canyon. Yesterday we had a lot of fun with about 600 common dolphins frolicking alongside the boat. These dolphins were bow-riding, spinning, breaching and darting under the boat. Clear calm waters let us see them in the water down 20 feet!

Common Dolphin zooming by. photo: Michael Nelson

Common Dolphin zooming by. photo: Michael Nelson

August 23, 2014 Monterey Bay humpback whales. Photo: Michael Nelson

August 23, 2014 Monterey Bay humpback whales. Photo: Michael Nelson

We also spotted 20 humpback whales, many doing close drive-bys near the boat – a few surface lunges near the boat, and many tail throws and breaching from distance.

All last weekend we’ve  had active humpback whales, showing tail throws, pec slaps, breaching and close approaches, even under the boat! We count 15-20 whales on average each time we go out.

 

 

Humpbacks near Boardwalk in Santa Cruz!

Thursday August 21, 2014

What a treat!  We were entertained by 8-10 humpbacks right in front of the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz!  The mammals were showing off many behaviors: lunge feeding, tail throws, tail lobs and pec slaps.  Among them were a mother and calf. Whale watching in Monterey Bay continues to be amazing!

photo by Richard Duck

photo by Richard Duck

 

 

Four Orca Saturday morning whale watching trip

On the morning trip Saturday, August 16 we saw four Killer Whales out in Monterey Bay! Awesome. They swam right under the boat! We spotted at least 20 humpback whales Saturday and 25 on Friday… Also on Friday we had a pod of Dall’s porpoises bow-riding. This was all just 5 to 6 miles out from Santa Cruz, over Soquel Canyon. We have one great whale watching trip after another these days!

We have plenty of room during the week. Join us!
Next trips are Monday at 12:00 PM and Tuesday at 10:00 AM.

 

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

Humpback whales, dolphins, orcas active in Monterey Bay

Over the last few days we have had full boats and event-ful whale watching trips! It is great to have passengers visiting from Europe, Asia and South America on board alongside California natives seeing the beautiful Monterey Bay.

We’ve seen many humpback whales on each trip this week, exhibiting many surface behaviors! On some occasions whales have ventured close to the boat to pec-slap, tail-slap, and even breach near the boat. When a humpback swims nearby, we can smell the whale’s breath – “Oooh! and ewww.”
We’ve seen Dall’s Porpoises, Common Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphins. One odd sighting was a Pacific Sunfish (Mola-Mola) eating a jellyfish right up at the surface. We even had  sightings of killer whales feeding on a sea lion a few days ago!

Photo: Michael Nelson

Photo: Michael Nelson

Common Dolphin, Monterey Bay August 2014. Photo: Michael Nelson

Common Dolphin, Monterey Bay August 2014.
Photo: Michael Nelson

Read more about summer whales in the beautiful Monterey Bay: SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL NEWS ARTICLE

 

Breaching humpback whale, Monterey Bay, CA
August, 2014 - Photo: Jolynne Jones

Whale Watching in Monterey Bay is as good as it gets right now!

August 6, 2014:
The last several trips have included many different awesome behaviors from multiple humpback whales, as dozens of animals continue summer feeding in Monterey Bay. In the last week we have seen breaching, tail throws, pectoral slapping and even surface lunge feeding from the animals. We have also had bow riding Dolphins and giant ocean sunfish (Mola Mola) come under the boat! Whale Watching from Santa Cruz in Monterey Bay is as good as it gets right now!

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Humpback whales, Monterey Bay, CA., July 2014 Photo: Aaron Neff

Humpback whales, Monterey Bay, CA July2014 - Photo: Aaron Neff

Read on for highlights and photos from recent trips this amazing summer in Monterey Bay!

August 5, 2014:
Whale watching out on the Sea Stag Six private charter, they saw a mother humpback and her calf breaching in unison, along with many more active whales and a mola mola!

Mola Mola (Sunfish), Montery Bay, CA August, 2014 - Photo: Jolynne Jones

Mola Mola (Sunfish), Montery Bay, CA
August, 2014 – Photo: Jolynne Jones

July 19, 2014:
Friendly humpbacks circle the boat up close! They breached, pec slapped and threw their flukes countless times. We saw approximately 40 whales just 20 minutes out from Santa Cruz.

The ultimate selfie!  Thank you Adam Strauss

The ultimate selfie!
Thank you Adam Strauss

July 20, 2014: See for yourself! Thank you to Aaron Neff and Sean Kelley for sharing their awesome images of humpback whales, jellies, California sea lions and otters!

Humpback whales, Monterey Bay, CA July 20, 2014 - Photo: Sean Kelley

Humpback whales, Monterey Bay, CA
July 20, 2014 – Photo: Sean Kelley

California sea lion, Monterey Bay, CA July 20, 2014 - Photo: Sean Kelley

California sea lion, Monterey Bay, CA
July 20, 2014 – Photo: Sean Kelley

Humpback whales, Monterey Bay, CA July 20, 2014 - Photo: Sean Kelley

Humpback whales, Monterey Bay, CA
July 20, 2014 – Photo: Sean Kelley

Beautiful Jellly, Monterey Bay, CA July 20, 2014 - Photo: Sean Kelley

Beautiful Jellly, Monterey Bay, CA
July 20, 2014 – Photo: Sean Kelley

Sea Otters, Monterey Bay, CA July 20, 2014 - Photo: Sean Kelley

Sea Otters, Monterey Bay, CA
July 20, 2014 – Photo: Sean Kelley

July 22, 2014: Dozens of humpback whales, blows near and far in every direction! We passed several juvenile male humpbacks that were exploring up near Santa Cruz to get out to Monterey Canyon near Moss Landing to where we found numerous whales and activity: tail throws, breaching and surfacing – some near the boat! the whales were surrounded by rafts of 100s of sea lions. Along the way we discovered a pod of about 20 Dall’s porpoises, very fast animals, very sleek and with black and white coloring similar to killer whales. The porpoises zoomed alongside and under the boat!

Santa Cruz Whale Watching trips depart out of the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor aboard Velocity or Sea Stag Six, offering fully narrated 3-4 hour tours of the amazing wildlife and vistas of our Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. See our complete schedule here: SCHEDULE AND TICKETS

2014 Velocity and humpback whale breach-pec-CROP2

Lunge feeding humpbacks fill Monterey Bay

Update July 20: This morning reports coming in of lunge feeding humpbacks at Seacliff State Beach. Join us this afternoon – Trip added at 4:00 PM today!

July 17-19, 2014: Thursday and Friday we had incredible amounts of lunge feeding humpback whales in Monterey Bay! We began to spot whale spouts out at the mouth of the submarine canyon. We saw very dramatic lunge feeding, spy-hopping, tail throws and pec slaps! Many whale behaviors were on display, mixed in with the odd breach here and there.

Photo: TANIS GOMEZ October, 2011 Humpback whales feeding in Monterey Bay

Photo: TANIS GOMEZ
October, 2011
Humpback whales feeding in Monterey Bay

Saturday there were more humpback whales over the canyon – over 20 whales were spotted! They were breaching high out of the water, One humpback whale “chin-slapped” for quite a while. A mother and calf did quite a few “drive-bys.” They seem to be curious about the boat and all the interested passengers.

All three days “Wilbur’” our resident humpback whale welcomed us back to Santa Cruz a quarter-mile off the beach and gave us close-up looks all three days. Wilbur is a little guy who has been feeding off Santa Cruz for almost two months now.

More about this season whale watching in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary:  Whale Show Returns to the Bay

whale watcing monterey

Tuesday Blue whales in Monterey Bay

Tuesday Blue whales in Monterey Bay! The Blue Whale is the largest animal to ever inhabit the earth including the dinosaurs. Their distinctive high spout can reach over 25′ and be spotted many miles away. Blue whales can usually be found in the Monterey Bay in the summer when they feed on krill (small shrimp like crustaceans).

Tuesday, July 1, 2014: 3 BLUE WHALES! Yesterday whale watching we saw 3 blue whales out in Monterey Bay: a blue whale mother with her calf, which is fairly rare to see! …and one big blue whale. TICKETS

whale watcing monterey

Blue whale feeding in Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz Whale Watching. July 1, 2014 Photo: Michael Nelson

We saw 12 humpback whales in middle of Monterey Bay, plus sea lions and a sweet visit with sea otters at the kelp beds.IMG_5425

Monday, June 30, 2014: Three Humpback whales just one mile off of Santa Cruz; More out in the middle of the Bay! The whales were breaching, feeding, good action! Two big whale breaches from a whale on the way back in to Santa Cruz Harbor. Also saw Risso’s dolphins.

About the trip:  Whale Watching on Monterey Bay
This 3-4 hour Monterey whale watching trip focuses on the Humpback Whale. The local herd comes to Monterey Bay and the central coast for seasonal feeding. They feed on anchovies, sardines, and krill (shrimp like crustaceans). There is also an increased change of spotting Blue whales in Summer and Fall.
$46.95 Adults
$32.95 Children under 14
Buy tickets online at Zerve

Welcome aboard!