Tag Archives: marine wildlife

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/

Fluking humpback whale. Monterey Bay, CA Photo Tina Hughes

Risso’s dolphins, baby bottlenose, humpback whales

Friday 9/16 Today’s trip started with bow-riding bottlenose dolphins right outside the harbor, including a new-born dolphin and mom! 6 humpbacks out over the canyon on the north side, fluking up – some close drive bys for good looks at the whales.

Wednesday 9/14 Humpback whales feedings, plus 500 Risso’s Dolphins, jumping and breaching!

Monday 9/12 Humpback whales breaching, rail-slapping and pec slapping behaviors; nice close-up looks!

Dolphins, Blues, Humpback Whales VIDEO

Here is some great video of lunge feeding. The bright pink baleen can be seen as the whale reaches the surface.

Monday, August 29
We started the trip accompanied by a pod of 100 common dolphins, bow riding and traveling along with us through Monterey Bay! Later we found about 10 humpback whales and one blue whale. Today they were diving deep for food! But we got to see flukes and close looks while they were at the surface.

Saturday & Sunday August 27/28
The last two days we’ve had awesome looks at blue whales! Blue whales are in Monterey Bay is large numbers this season, and they are friendly! They’ll swim close to the boat for great looks, and some have been seen lunge feeding!

Also we’ve had very active humpback whales – lunge feeding and showing wonderful surface behaviors. Today one humpback whale was doing a circus routine: a triple tail slap, 3 head throws, and then 3 breaches which it repeated and repeated.   Amazing!

We also had Risso’s dolphins further out in the bay.

Lunge feeding whales, leaping dolphins

Great trips over the Thanksgiving Weekend

Saturday 11/28 We found a trio of humpback whales as they fed offshore near Moss Landing. We had nice close up looks at tails and blow holes. One curious calf passed very close to the boat! Everyone got a great look at his entire “little” – 20 foot long – body.

Friday 11/27 Lots of lunge feeding activity off of Wilder Ranch, a few miles offshore. Spotted ~ 7 humpback whales, plus a few hundred common dolphins doing their usual leaping and bow riding! The dolphins were also fairly close to the Santa Cruz shore. We saw sea lions, sea otters and some of the humpback whales swam nearby to the boat.

humpback whales monterey whale watching tour

11-28-15 Humpback whales lunge feeding, Monterey Bay. Photo Karen Ewart

WATCH VIDEO What a wonderful whale watching moment from August 2015. Rick W, Thanks for posting the video and for your Yelp review! Humpback breaches close to Santa Cruz Whale Watching tour boat. WATCH VIDEO Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay


Common Dolphins can be observed in very large groups and are generally found in warmer waters. They are found worldwide.

The Short-beaked Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis) is a species of Common Dolphin. It has a larger range than the Long-beaked Common Dolphin (D. capensis), occurring throughout warm-temperate and tropical oceans, with the possible exception of the Indian Ocean. There are more Short-beaked Common Dolphins than any other dolphin species in the warm-temperate portions of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. 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.

Monterey whale watching is full of amazing delights! No two trips are the same. Whale watching on Monterey Bay trips depart out of the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor every weekend, year round. Winter whale watching we have some humpbacks might remain in the bay over winter. We are soon looking to see gray whales on migration from Alaska to Baja California.