Recent Sightings Archives

Memorial Day on Monterey Bay

MEMORIAL DAY! Monday, May 25, 2015: Today we saw 25 plus humpback whales out on Monterey Bay. There were many close “drive-bys” and close-up pec slapping behaviors, and a couple of tail throws! What a splash! We saw whales all along the way to the middle of Monterey Bay; several small groups of feeding humpback whales coming and going. We had good weather this trip!

Photo: Joey Stagnaro

Friendly humpback whales this weekend

Saturday, May 16, 2105: We counted 12 humpback whales out in the center of Monterey Bay. Four very friendly humpback whales stayed with the boat for a half-hour! These friendly whales were spy-hopping, pec-slapping, breaching and spinning near the boat, and looking up “people watching.” Everyone got sprayed by their spout!

photo: Michael Nelson

photo: Michael Nelson

Sunday, May 17, 2015: There were 15 humpback whales on Sunday, and what a show! We got to see all types of whale surface behavior on display, including tandem breaches! Tandem tail lobbing! One whale approached the boat to look up at the people, another friendly encounter.

Join us this week and Memorial Day Weekend! Three-four hour tour departs from the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor at the north end of Monterey Bay. Adults $47.95 and Kids age 4-13 $32.95.  Click HERE to purchase tickets online.

Wednesday, May 20 at 11:00 AM
Friday, May 22 at 12:00 PM
Saturday, May 23 at 12:00 PM
Sunday, May 24 at 12:00 PM
Monday, May 25 at 12:00 PM


humpback whale monterey

Photo: Michael Nelson


Yes we have been seeing whales, whale, whales!

Yes we have been seeing whales, whale, whales!
Last Wed 5/6 we saw 2 pairs of mother & calf gray whales.  We also saw many sea lions and a sea otter mom & baby.
Fri 5/8 we were on an inner bay cruise close to shore and saw a humpback whale,
Sat 5/9 we saw about 20 Orcas!!! They were coming up to the boat and passing underneath.  They also were riding the wake and bow riding. There were also a few humpback trying to get in on the fun.
Sunday May 10th we saw Humpback just a few miles out. They did multiple breaches and behaviors.
Sea Lions on every trip and Sea birds, Albatross!
We also have heard from many people seeing Gray Whales and Humpbacks from West Cliff & SeaCliff Beach/Cement Ship.
Our next trips are Wed 5/13, Fri 5/15, Sat 5/16 & Sun 5/17.

Santa Cruz Whale Watching & Stagnaro Charter Boats
(831) 427-0230 or (831) 427-2334

blue whales monterey bay

Blue whales again over the weekend

Sunday, April 19: We saw large groups of 6+ BLUE WHALES mixing and mingling with HUMPBACK whales. There is plenty of krill for the whales to eat out at the canyons!

Springtime in Monterey Bay also brings us humpback whales, orca, 5 species of dolphins, seals and sea lions, otters, plus countless migrating and pelagic birds. Our next trips are Friday 4/24 at 12:00 pm & Saturday 4/25 at 10:00 am. More trips available most weekends and selected weekdays.

Blue Whales

Blue Whale, Monterey Bay, Photo: Gene Manako

The Blue Whale is the largest animal to ever inhabit the earth including the dinosaurs. In the early days blues reached 125′ in length and 150 tons. Today they rarely exceed 90′. They are found in all oceans but are endangered, approximately 10,000 worldwide. Their distinctive high spout can reach over 25′ and be spotted many miles away. Blue whales can usually be found in the bay in the spring and summer when they feed on krill (small shrimp like crustaceans).

Blue Whales

Blue Whale, Monterey Bay, Photo: Gene Manako

This spring Santa Cruz Whale Watching trips have been amazing! In April alone we’ve seen countless dolphins (several species!), humpback whales, blue whales, gray whales and orca on the hunt. We offer a convenient departure point at the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor, our large & comfortable yacht powered by brand new eco-friendly engines, and our friendly and informative crew to make your Monterey Bay tour an unforgettable experience. Join us! BUY TICKETS

whales Velocity Stagnaro Charter Boats Monterey Bay

Velocity, Stagnaro Charter Boats on Monterey Bay

“The ocean comes alive when you get out onto the water.”
–Ken Stagnaro
Here’s a great article that came out in the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday “Santa Cruz” special travel section.

And interesting, exciting news to share on Earth Day: Humpback whale on it’s way to being removed from the endangered species list!

humpback whale breach monterey bay

Humpback whale, Monterey Bay, Photo: Albert Djikstra

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!


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

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:

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!