Recent Sightings Archives

monterey whales

Gray Whales, Humpbacks, Otters, Birds

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

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humpback whales

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

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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.

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Winter Solstice brings friendly humpback whales, lively dolphins, and ocean birds

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.

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Pacific White-sided Dolphins. Monterey Bay, Dec. 21, 2016.  Photo: Michael Nelson

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Albatross, Monterey Bay, CA Dec 21, 2016.
Photo: Michael Nelson

monterey whale watching

Lunge Feeding Whales, Sea Lions

Saturday 12/3/16 We had some great looks at a large group of lunge feeding humpback whales on Saturday. The whales were dining midday out at Pajaro Canyon, alongside hundreds of California sea lions. These are late season whales in Monterey Bay. We are soon expecting to see gray whales on their annual migration between Alaska and Baja California.

Join us on board Velocity or Legacy for an unforgettable adventure on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary – one of the top wildlife viewing locations in the world!

Santa Cruz Whale Watching trips run every weekend, and DAILY starting December 20 through January 1.

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Photo: Michael Nelson

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Photo: Michael Nelson

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Fall-Winter Sightings

We loved having so many family groups out on the boat this week. Each day of Thanksgiving week we got some great views of 10-20 humpback whales that are active in Monterey Bay right now. These humpback whales are feeding and showing surface behaviors such as tail slaps and breaching above the water.  We’re getting to see big pods of common dolphins, otters in the kelp beds, and California sea lions. Our cover photo is from passenger Matija Vižin, taken on Tuesday 11/22 when we saw 10 humpback whales – one full breach! – Good looks, lots of flukes.

We’ve had a certain population of humpbacks staying around over winter for the last several years. As long as they are able to eat they will stay in  the area instead of participating in migration to Central America.

We’ll soon be keeping an eye out for gray whales migrating south towards their winter mating/calving waters in Baja, Mexico. Over 20,000 gray whales pass through Monterey Bay every year!

Santa Cruz Whale Watching Trips run every weekend in December, and DAILY from December 23 – New Year’s Day. Join us for adventure on the Bay!

Tickets are $48.95 for adults and $34.95 for kids age 4-13. Reservations recommended; Call 831-427-0230 or click the link to Book Online Now.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Over the last week up to 6 humpback whales have been seen spouting and feeding near Santa Cruz and the north part of Monterey Bay.  Long beak common dolphins and Risso’s dolphins are also active in the Bay right now.

Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s the whale watching schedule this week:

Tuesday 11/22 at 11am
Wednesday 11/23 at 11am
Thursday 11/24 at 10am
Friday 11/25 at 12pm
Saturday 11/26 – two trips! – 8:30am and 12:30pm
Sunday 11/27 at 12pm

Click BOOK NOW or Call 831-427-0230 ~ We look forward to having you on board!

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Dolphins and humpback whales this week

Saturday, 11/12/16
Saturday,  one lunge feeding humpback right in front of harbor,  then 200 common dolphins by the Pajaro Canyon, as well as one breaching and pectoral fin slapping humpback,  plus a few other scattered humpbacks.

Friday 11/11/16
Good looks at a group of lunge feeding humpbacks near Pajaro.

Here’s some recent video from our friend Michael Nelson ~ A glimpse of a feeding frenzy with humpback whales and California sea lions, October 2016.
Visiting Santa Cruz
Check out these fun traveler tips for an easygoing visit to Santa Cruz – This article highlights some of our favorite beaches and places to eat and drink, just a bit off the beaten path. Enjoy! Click here to read about Santa Cruz travel tips.

Thanksgiving Week
Our whale watching schedule for November and December is now up on our website. Book your family outing now! Call 831-427-0230 or click the “Book Now” button at santacruzwhalewatching.com. Welcome aboard!

Humpback whales, Monterey Bay November

November Humpbacks near Santa Cruz

Sunday 11/6/16 ~ Whale Watching on ‘Legacy’
Five humpbacks, one minke whale, and 200 to 300 common dolphins west of the Soquel Canyon.

Friday, 11/4/16 ~ Whale Watching on ‘Legacy’
Group of four humpbacks over the Soquel Canyon. Pair of humpbacks one of which did a couple of tail throws, and a few scattered whales throughout the Monterey Bay. A couple of large packs of sea lions swimming with the whales.

We also continue to see a few whales near West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz.

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Look for spouts @ West Cliff and Seabright

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Lunge feeding humpback whales on last Friday and Saturday trips! We also saw dolphins and rafts of sea lions in the feeding grounds of pristine Monterey Bay.

Today 11/2 we are spotting whale spouts from shore, near Seabright and West Cliff Beaches.

Lunge feeding humpback whales 10-28-16. photo: megan Petersen

Lunge feeding humpback whales 10-28-16. photo: Megan Petersen