March 7, 2014: Recently sighted in Monterey Bay: gray whales, Risso’s dolphins, orcas, and, last week, a blue whale!
But this time of year is really all about the gray whales. Twice every year over 20,000 gray whales pass through our waters off of Santa Cruz and Monterey. 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.
Peak viewing time for the gray whale 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 whale watching. 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 “spyhopping.”
Join us for Monterey whale watching this season! Daily “Spring Break” trips start March 31.
March 5, 2014: Late winter/early spring Whale Watchers have been seeing gray whales, humpback whales, Risso’s dolphins & Pacific white-sided dolphins. Orcas have even been sighted in the south part of Monterey Bay, right in Monterey Harbor!
Early spring – during March and April – is prime whale watching time to view the northbound migration of the California gray whale. Their northern migration tends to be more social and leisurely. Its a time to see mothers travel with newborn gray whale calves. At times the whales can be spotted mating, breaching and “spyhopping” along the Monterey and Santa Cruz coastline.
Springtime brings a higher chance to see orcas (killer whales), too, since they are often hunting the migrating whales.
We’ve noticed quite a bit of krill already in Monterey Bay this year. Krill is the primary food source of our humpback whales. Monterey usually sees humpbacks in the bay starting in April through November, but we’ve had some early sightings already this year!
Join us for Monterey whale watching this spring!
Orcas, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching March, 2013. Photo: Carol Harmon
Tuesday Baywatch! Sighted last week, February 21-23:
24 Gray Whales
50 Pacific White-sided Dolphins
NEW! Visit us at our new ticket office and expanded gift shop featuring whale and ocean-themed cards, shells, books and jewelry, plus our best-selling “Santa Cruz Whale Watching” hoodies and caps.
Local sea glass jewelry by Polly Schulze.
Photo: Polly Schulze
We are located at 2896 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA, 95062, just off Highway 1, open 7 days a week!
Friday, February 14: For Valentine’s Day we saw many dolphins and gray whales.
Saturday, February 15 and Sunday, February 16: Two rare winter humpback whales feeding in the middle of the Monterey Bay both Saturday and Sunday. The duo was a mother and calf humpback whale! Mom did one spectacular tail “throw” causing big splashes of water everywhere!
Saturday we saw Risso’s dolphins and Pacific White-sided dolphins – about 100 dolphins in all.
Monday, President’s Day. Today the water and the whales did not cooperate. We had a lovely group enjoying the boat and beautiful views of Monterey Bay, but no whales or dolphins sighted today. When this happens, we offer a rain-check for a future trip, so everyone will have a second chance to come back out and try to find whales!
Sightings report, February 1st and 2nd, 2014:
On Saturday we saw 8 gray whales and Sunday we saw 4 grays heading south to Baja. Super Sunday the skies cleared in time to go out and spot some gray whales! Then everyone was back in time for the big game. Congratulations to Super Bowl winners, the Seattle Seahawks!
Come see us at our new location, 2896 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz. We’re adding many fun Ocean-themed gifts to our inventory. Stop in for gifts, snacks or info, open 7 days a week.
Since the start of the year whale watching trips have been great! Sunny skies and dry conditions make it easy to get out for a day on Monterey Bay. The gray whale migration is in full swing, and we are enjoying spectacular dolphin antics. Here are highlights from recent trips.
Sunday, January 12, 2014: Great dolphin show! We saw hundreds of Risso’s and Pacific white-sided dolphins. The highlight was a few of the Pacific white-sided dolphins were very animated and put on a show leaping out of the water right in front of the boat, swimming and “porpoising” alongside us.
Friday, January 17, 2014: Megapod! Usually gray whales travel in small groups of 2-3. On Friday we had a “megapod” of California gray whales; 12-15 whales were swimming together along the Santa Cruz and Monterey coastline, on their southbound migration to Mexico. Here’s a great megapod photo taken off the Los Angeles coast during last year’s California gray whale migration! Photo: Natalie Massey http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/gwhale/annual/jan_megapod.html
Megapod, photo Natalie Massey from http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/gwhale/annual/jan_megapod.html
Sunday, January 26, 2014: More big pods, twelve gray whales today! Plus we were delighted by over 100 Pacific white-sided dolphins doing acrobatics, and a pod of 40 Northern right whale dolphins, having fun bow-riding alongside the Velocity!
Photo: Danny Frank
Found in the cooler North Pacific, Northern right whale dolphins are unique in that they have no dorsal Fin. They are often found mixed with other species of dolphin. They are very dark in color.
Tickets are available for whale watching trips this weekend. The winter gray whale migration continues through April… Join us! Remember our new ticket office/ check-in location is 2896 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz.
Monday, January 13, 2014: On all of our whale watching tours this weekend we saw good numbers of the California gray whale on its southbound migration. Whales will travel in continuous groups of 3-8, swimming steadily towards Baja California.
Gray Whale, Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz. Photo: Teddy Daligga. January 15, 2012 (Stagnaro archive)
CALIFORNIA GRAY WHALES: Twice every year over 20,000 Gray Whales pass through our 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 off of Santa Cruz from mid February through April. This 10,000+ mile round-trip is one of the longest migrations of any animal known. Peak viewing for southbound whales is usually in mid January. 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 “spyhopping”.
Passengers and crew aboard Velocity are loving our recent calm and sunny conditions on the Monterey Bay. Gray whale season is here and the viewing is easy!
Friday, January 3 we had 6-8 California gray whales, reports of a Dall’s porpoise, and 2 big pods of Risso’s dolphins.
Saturday, January 4 we took out two whale watching trips. In the morning we spotted a solo whale, then a group of 6 grays voyaging south. The afternoon trip remained sunny and comfortable. We say 10 more gray whales and a pod of 15 Risso’s dolphins.
In total over the last week we saw: 45 gray whales, 4 humpbacks, 5 killer whales (Orca) and 250 Risso’s dolphins.
California gray whales continue their round-trip migration between Alaska and the Baja now through the middle of April. Crisp winter days on the Monterey Bay make for a great family outing!
20,000 California gray whales make their annual migration from Alaska to Baja California each winter
Please note our new office/check-in address, 2896 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
All of the holiday season we have been seeing many species of whales and dolphins on our daily trips! The humpback whales have continued to appear in smaller numbers during Christmas up til New Year’s Eve. Most trips we saw between 3 – 10 humpbacks, lunge feeding, tail slapping and breaching. We’re not expecting to see them much longer this season, as it was the longest time for humpbacks we’ve had in a while!
Now onto our Winter whale watching regulars, the Gray whales. We started to see Gray whales on their annual migration about 3 weeks ago. They are currently travelling south to the Gulf of Mexico for mating and calving over the winter months. Yesterday we had a pod of 15 Gray whales, travelling south in 4-5 different groupings. We could easily see their spouts and “fluking up” surface behavior. The annual migration is in full swing!
The big highlight of yesterday’s trip was the Killer Whales, or Orca. We observed a family of 5 killer whales, headed by a large male. we watched them follow and menace some sea lions, but they did not attack. fascinating. They were also breaching, what a show!
Over winter we’ll continue to see the Grays, Orcas, plus Risso’s dolphins, seals and otters, jellies and migratory birds.
Please note our new office location: 2896 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA. We’ll have an expanded gift shop opening soon. Come by for a visit!
December 17, 2013: On our whale watching trips this weekend we saw 8-10 Humpback whales both Saturday and Sunday! Plus, Risso’s dolphins, a pod of bottlenose dolphins, sea otters, hundreds of sea lions, and Gray whales on Sunday. Flat conditions and mild temps made for a great December weekend out on Monterey Bay.
Gift Certificates available in any amount.
Give your loved ones an unforgettable experience this Christmas with a gift certificate from Santa Cruz Whale Watching. Purchase in any amount, good for whale watching trips year round.