Spring is here bringing a lively mix of sunny days, cleansing rain, and a wonderful variety of marine wildlife to see with Santa Cruz Whale Watching! Several species of whales & dolphins, sea birds, otters and sea lions mix it up, to delight all visitors to Monterey Bay.
Sunday 3/19/17 — We had two breaching humpback whales out on Monterey Bay! We saw a pod of 12 Risso’s dolphins, and got great looks at harbor porpoises, harbor seals and California sea otters in the kelp beds near Santa Cruz.
Saturday 3/18/17 – Springtime proves to be a great time of year to see multiple whale species out on Monterey Bay! We found four humpback whales and 10 gray whales. Gray whales will continue to travel northbound along the Santa Cruz coastline throughout April and May.
Join us this week! Thursday 3/23, Friday 3/24, Saturday 3/25 and Sunday 3/26 whale watching trips depart at 11am. Call 831-427-0230 or order online at www.santacruzwhalewatching.com
Monterey Bay, March 19, 2017 Photo: Michael Nelson
The gray whales led the way on Sunday! We kept our whale watching tour along the coastline, following several sets of gray whales swimming northbound through Monterey Bay. There were plenty of gray whales just 1-2 miles offshore from Santa Cruz — wonderful to see whale spouts over here, there, everywhere! We followed several small groups of whales up the coast towards Davenport; a few groups of two, then a trio of gray whales who were the most active, showing tail flukes (diving), a spyhop, and other active surface behaviors.
On the way in we got good looks at otters in the kelp beds. It was a beautiful day on Monterey Bay!
Over the last week we have had some delightful whale watching trips! Last Sunday we found lots of gray whales over the outer Monterey Bay, and got great looks at a huge pod of dolphins that swam and played alongside the boat!
On Tuesday we hosted a group of high school students who brought us great luck – spotting humpback whales near Santa Cruz, and gray whales further out towards Monterey.
Saturday whale watching another lovely day – between storms we’ve had some beautiful conditions! Guests spotted several humpback whales, and one breached out of the water! We noted that the 2 gray whales we saw on this trip seemed to be heading south! Most likely these animals will be late for the breeding season in Mexico. Usually at this time of year in Monterey we are starting to see gray whales migrating northbound, returning to Alaska for the summer.
It’s also exciting to see migratory ocean birds visiting Monterey Bay – This trip a keen-eyed passenger spotted a Tufted Puffin!
Tufted Puffin, Monterey Bay, March 4 2017 Notice the red feet and the large plumes on the head. Photo: James Maughn
Join Santa Cruz Whale Watching on Monterey Bay this weekend!
Sunday, February 12, 2017: Today we were able to catch up with 2 adult southbound gray whales, that allowed us to watch them surface and dive many times, treating the crowd to close looks and several tail flukes! Along the way we spotted Risso’s dolphins, numerous sea otters and sea lions, and a variety of seabirds in winter plumage! As we were nearing the harbor, we spotted a third gray whale, on its way north. A beautiful, crystal clear day to view some of California’s unique marine wildlife!
Thank you to everyone who visited our booth at the Migration Festival this weekend, and a special thanks to Natural Bridges State Park for hosting. We look forward to having you out on a whale watching trip!
Pelican, Santa Cruz, CA | photo courtesy Luv Kothari
*Saturday, February 11 from 11 AM to 4 PM
*End of West Cliff Dr. at Swanton Blvd., Santa Cruz, California 95060
Come to Natural Bridges State Beach for a full day of activities that celebrate the migration of whales, butterflies, birds and the many creatures that travel. The park will host migratory animal talks, active kids’ games, crafts, skits, live music by the nature-loving 5M’s Band, educational booths and displays, along with the now-famous free habitat-cake served at the end of the event. You can purchase a picnic at the park or bring your own. Event is free; vehicle day-use fee is $10. For more information, please call (831) 423-4609 or email NaturalBridgesStateBeach@gmail.com.
Facebook Event Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/150443888786351/
Monday 1/16/17 Mom and baby day! We spotted a sea otter mama and pup on the way out, and a gray whale mom and calf on the way home! In between we were treated to wintering humpbacks showing their tail flukes while diving on bait over the Monterey Bay Canyon. We counted 6-8 humpbacks, one breacher!
Photos: Michael Nelson
Sunday 1/15/17 Lots of humpback whales in the bay! We had a humpback whale breaching, and saw more gray whales crossing the outer Monterey Bay. Seabirds: common murres
Saturday 1/14/17 We had 4 gray whales heading south and several humpback whales – one humpback whale did a tail throw for us!
The weather is beautiful out there. (Video: Michael Nelson)
Winter Wildlife Viewing at its Finest! Join us year round with Santa Cruz Whale Watching Trips on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. For a Trip Schedule, Call 831-427-0230.
January 2, 2017 – Happy New Year! We’ve continued to see our winter humpback whales over the past weeks! Gray whales are starting to pass through the area. Plus today, a pod of Northern Right Whale Dolphins.
Wednesday, 12/21/16: A beautiful winter day on the Monterey Bay! We had multiple pairs of humpbacks, one of which came in for a close inspection of the boat! We were also treated to a large group of pacific white sided dolphins, bow riding and frolicking in the waves. On the way home we encountered some of our earlier humpbacks feeding near the surface. Birders enjoyed looks at a black footed albatross, many species of shearwater, and northern fulmars.
Pacific White-sided Dolphins. Monterey Bay, Dec. 21, 2016. Photo: Michael Nelson
Albatross, Monterey Bay, CA Dec 21, 2016. Photo: Michael Nelson