Tag Archives: gray whales

california sea otters monterey

Springtime otters, breaching humpbacks, migrating gray whales

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

Spring nature whales monterey

Monterey Bay, March 19, 2017
Photo: Michael Nelson

#montereybay #santacruz #whale #whaletail #whales #whalewatching #dolphins #humpback #humpbackwhale #humpbackwhales #montereywhalewatching #santacruzwhalewatching #monterey #stagnarowhalewatching #stagnaro #sanfrancisco #sanfranciscobay #marinelife #seaotters #wildlife #orca #birdwatching #otters #seals #california #oceanlife #springbreak

gray whale monterey

Good Day with Gray Whales

Sunday 3/12/17 — Good Day with Gray Whales

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!

For tickets call 831-427-0230 or visit us online www.santacruzwhalewatching.com

Spring Break Whale Watching Trips run daily April 1-16!

#Monterey #whales #dolphins #birds #wildlife #California #sanfrancisco #santacruz #springbreak

gray whales monterey

Gray Whales, Dolphins, Sea Birds

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

Winter Wildlife, Migration Festival

  • Celebrate Winter Wildlife in Santa Cruz County
  • Migration Festival, Saturday, February 11, 2017

Come visit us at the Migration Festival at Natural Bridges State Park and enter to win a Free Whale Watching Trip!

*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/

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

seagull with otter

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

common murre

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.


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.

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.


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


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!


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


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

humpback whale monterey

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

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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Gray Whales, 1000 Dolphins

Sunday 2/21/16 Whale Watching on board Velocity, Monterey Bay
2 gray whales – good looks
1 humpback whale – good activity and one breach!
1000 common dolphins – the dolphins were with us the entire trip, in groups small and large, spread out for miles!