Recent Sightings Archives

Archive: Humpback whales, Monterey Bay, CA
July 20, 2014 - Photo: Sean Kelley

Whales, Orca, Sea Turtles, Sharks

Yesterday we saw 5 humpback whales feeding out near Moss Landing, plus a big Male Orca, we got to watch him for about an hour! We also got a glimpse of Leatherback sea turtles and and there were Great White Sharks spotted near Seacliff Beach near Aptos. Today 2 particularly lively humpback whales breaching and tail slapping, showing all how to enjoy Monterey Bay!
What will we see tomorrow? Join us for whale watching! Call 831-427-0230 for reservations/tickets.

Summer Humpback Whales. Photo: Sean Kelly

Monterey Bay humpbacks here for summer

Wednesday, June 24, 2015:
Happy Summer! This weekend marked the official start of summer and our humpback whale feeding season here in Monterey Bay! Father’s Day Sunday we had an awesome whale watching trip: We saw 25 humpback whales throughout the trip. The animals were swimming together in groups of 8 or so, doing close drive-bys. And we had a pair of full-grown whales breaching in tandem right near the boat, out in the center of Monterey Bay.

June Humpbacks. Photo: G. Manako

June Humpbacks. Photo: G. Manako

Monday and Tuesday both were successful sightings of about 10 humpback whales out near Moss Landing, and 2 more near shore off of Capitola. A few curious whales swam near the boat allowing our passengers to enjoy great detailed looks. On Tuesday also saw the mighty Mola Mola (or sunfish) which looked to be at least 1000 pounds!


For more recent sightings updates and photos visit Monterey or join our Facebook Page for more photos and regular notice of upcoming trips.

6-8-15-2 tail slapping

World Oceans Day with humpback whales

What a treat to spend World Ocean Day seeing humpback whales in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary! Sunny skies and calm ocean conditions added to the beauty of it all. We saw multiple humpback whales doing all types of surface behavior!

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Humpback whales – tail slaps – Monterey Bay, CA with Santa Cruz Whale Watching (Azure Cohen)

6-8-15-2 tail slapping

orca killer whales monterey wild

A Day with Orcas in Monterey Bay

Sunday, June 1, 2015: The absolute highlight of the weekend was Orca! Sunday we got really lucky and saw Orca! They were a frisky bunch, showing off incredible breaching, tail throwing, and close drive-bys for over an hour! We also witnessed sea lion kill. In total we saw 6 killer whales: 1 male, 3 females, 2 calves all out above Soquel Canyon about 5 miles off shore from Santa Cruz.

orca killer whale wild



Tuesday, June 2, 2015: We found a pair of humpback whales that were quite the crowd pleasers! Multiple breaches, tail lobs, tail throws, pec slaps! Meanwhile a pod of common dolphins crossed paths with us and swam with the boat, bow riding and shooting straight up out of the water! Last but not least, a solo humpback whale right off Rio Del Mar was feeding in the shallows, and demonstrated surface lunge feeding. Great day for humpbacks!

5-31-15 Orca photos: Azure Cohen

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