Recent Sightings Archives

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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!

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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

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

Killer Whales, Humpbacks on Wednesday

Thursday, April 14, 2016; Today we were visited by a trio of humpback whales, they gave us super close-up looks, feeding on krill. One was a tail-slapper, so we could observe good surface behavior. We saw a few albatross, and lots of otters in the kelp.

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Wednesday, April 13, Wow! Orcas! We got to watch 6 killer whales/ orca as they cruised around through Monterey Bay. We had a similar orca sighting on April 3, spotting 4-6 orca that day. We also saw about 10 humpback whales.

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Orca in Monterey Bay, April 13, 2016, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching (photo M. Nelson)

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Orca in Monterey Bay, April 13, 2016, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching (photo M. Nelson)

Monday, April 11, we found humpback whales sprinkled across the bay, getting some good looks up close. The adventure ended with a humpback tail slapper, who did a big barrel roll with pec fin flourish!

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“Pec slap” Humpback whale,, Monterey Bay, April 11, 2016. photo Michael Nelson

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Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, April 2016

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Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, April 2016

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New boat “Legacy” joins our fleet!

Presenting… “Legacy!”

Legacy, new addition to Stagnaro Charter fleet out of Santa Cruz, CA

Legacy, new addition to Stagnaro Charter fleet out of Santa Cruz, CA

Stagnaro Charter Boats/ Santa Cruz Whale Watching is pleased to introduce a new addition to our fleet, joining Velocity at Dock F this season.

Our new boat Legacy is a 56′ fiberglass Westport yacht, featuring a spacious deck and deluxe interiors plus comfortable galley, snack bar/beer/wine and restroom amenities. Legacy can accommodate up to 46 passengers for whale watching or scenic tour excursions.

With this gorgeous new addition to our fleet, we are excited to offer more opportunities for our neighbors and visitors alike to go whale watching, or for a relaxing cruise on Monterey Bay.

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Captain Kenney Stagnaro and one of our favorite naturalists, Jennifer Yuhas, admiring the new boat!

Captain Kenney Stagnaro and one of our favorite naturalists, Jennifer Yuhas, admiring the new boat!

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Gray whale, Spring migration, Monterey Bay, 3/23/16. photo Michael Nelson

Albatross, Gray and Humpback Whales

Saturday, April 2: Today the fog burned off early and we set off on board Velocity to see what wildlife we could find in Monterey Bay!
We saw

Four gray whales – 2 pairs — near Santa Cruz
One Black-footed albatross (archive photo John Bruckman)
One humpback whale that was lunge feeding, showing lots of surface behavior: horizontal, vertical lunges and rolling around near to the boat.
one tiny sunfish (mola-mola), and many harbor porpoises and otters.

ALBATROSS JUNE 2015 © john c. bruckman

ALBATROSS JUNE 2015 © john c. bruckman

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Santa Cruz Harbor is Open

The Santa Cruz Harbor is open and whale watching trips are running daily for Spring Break!
Thursday 3/31— We saw a BLUE WHALE! Plus a gray whale close drive by– a couple of folks got “spouted” on!
Tuesday 3/29—2 humpback whales, spotted just about a mile out from Santa Cruz. One was playing in the kelp and came up out of the water with a comical seaweed wig! We also saw a gray whale, and 200 common dolphins, bow riding and doing flips
Sunday 3/27— 4 gray whales, common dolphins, otters
Saturday 3/26— 2 humpbacks, 4 gray whales, 40-50 common dolphins

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

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

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

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

california sea otter monterey bay 3-23-16

Spring is Here

Spring is here and so are humpback whale arriving for their feeding season in Monterey Bay. Gray whales continue their northbound migration through our local waters, and dolphin & otter babies are learning to keep up with their folks. Here is what we’ve seen lately in Monterey Bay.

Spring Break whale watching trips will be running daily starting next week! Click here to buy tickets.

Humpback fluke 3/23/16 Monterey Bay, March 2016

Humpback fluke 3/23/16 Monterey Bay, March 2016

Wednesday 3/23/16 we saw Gray Whales, Humpback Whales, Dolphins (mamas and babies) and our favorite California Sea Otters!

Gray whale, Spring migration, Monterey Bay, 3/23/16. photo Michael Nelson

Gray whale, Spring migration, Monterey Bay, 3/23/16. photo Michael Nelson

3/20/16 For Sunday’s trip, the best report came from one of our passengers, who wrote, “We had clear skies, a smooth trip, and good sightings. There was a small group of about 20 common dolphins porpoising. We then saw a yearling humpback surfacing then diving to feed near the canyon. Later, we came upon another young humpback.”

Saturday 3/19 we saw 500 common dolphins, 3 humpback whales — close drive-bys, lots of flukes, plus otters!

And on Thursday 3/18 we saw otters, lots of dolphins and 6 humpback whales out in Monterey Bay. One of the whales was lunge feeding. Lovely!

Common Dolphins, Monterey Bay, March 2016 Michael Nelson

Common Dolphins, Monterey Bay, March 2016

Monterey Bay, 3/23/16 photo Michael Nelson

Monterey Bay, 3/23/16 photo Michael Nelson

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Grays, Humpbacks, Common Dolphins

Monday 2/29/16 We saw 2 gray whales, 1 humpback whale, 20-40 common dolphins; a beautiful day!

Santa Cruz Whale Watching offers Whale Watching on Monterey Bay March, April, and year-round. Our tours (3.5-4 hours) are fully narrated by our captain along with an on-board naturalist. Marine wildlife can be observed in Monterey Bay year-round. In late winter/spring we see the northbound migration of gray whales, traveling from Baja to Alaska, which often includes sightings of mothers with newborn calves. It is also possible to see humpback whales arriving for their summer feeding season in Monterey Bay.