Tag Archives: monterey california whale watching


Santa Cruz Harbor is Open

The Santa Cruz Harbor is open and whale watching trips are running daily for Spring Break!
Thursday 3/31— We saw a BLUE WHALE! Plus a gray whale close drive by– a couple of folks got “spouted” on!
Tuesday 3/29—2 humpback whales, spotted just about a mile out from Santa Cruz. One was playing in the kelp and came up out of the water with a comical seaweed wig! We also saw a gray whale, and 200 common dolphins, bow riding and doing flips
Sunday 3/27— 4 gray whales, common dolphins, otters
Saturday 3/26— 2 humpbacks, 4 gray whales, 40-50 common dolphins

Blue Whale, Monterey Bay, June 2012. Photo: Gene Manako

Blue Whale, Monterey Bay, June 2012. Photo: Gene Manako

Blue Whale, Monterey Bay, June 2012. Photo: Gene Manako

Blue Whale, Monterey Bay, June 2012. Photo: Gene Manako

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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!


October, 2011
Humpback whales feeding in Monterey Bay

Whale watching humpbacks in Monterey Bay

Sunday, June 22, 2014: Whale watching on Monterey Bay – Friday and Saturday both whale watching trips saw about 15 humpback whales over the submarine canyon. Its feeding time in Monterey Bay!

Humpback whales come to feed in the waters off of Santa Cruz, Moss Landing and Monterey each year from spring through fall. Join us for amazing whale watching, also dolphins, blue whales, birds, and amazing marine life.

John Warren, 2012

Rare Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtles Spotted in Monterey Bay


Santa Cruz Patch
Maria Grusauskas
, July 26, 2012

Last week, passengers on a Santa Cruz Whale Watching boat got to see a rare and special site: a Pacific leatherback sea turtle feeding on a brown sea nettle, or jelly fish.

According to local marine biologist, Dr. Wallace J Nichols, the leather back in the picture appears to be around 1,000 pounds.

“I’d say it looks like it’s healthy and eating well! The leatherbacks encountered in our bay are usually nice and fat, ready for the long swim back to Indonesia,” said Dr. Nichols.

The leatherbacks seen in local waters travel around 6,000 miles to feed off the coast of California, migrating from Indonesia where they nest.

The chances of seeing the endangered leatherbacks in our backyard may be on the rise in the coming weeks, according to Nichols, who says they typically migrate up the coast during midsummer through fall.

There were other reports last week of leatherback sitings in the waters around Monterey, Moss Landing and Half Moon Bay, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The sea turtles appear to following a bloom of jelly fish, their number one food source, north through the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

“I think that most people don’t realize that we have leatherback turtles in the bay that come from Indonesia, and it’s nice to highlight that,” said Wallace J Nichols, just after seeing the two interactive sea turtle exhibits at Santa Cruz’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary  on Monday.

Nichols is on the board of the Turtle Island Restoration Network, an advocacy group working to protect endangered marine life, and he’s also on the board of Save Our Shores, the local nonprofit group largely responsible for getting single use plastic bags banned in the Santa Cruz County.

Plastic bags are known to be regularly injested by sea turtles mistaking them for their favorite food: jellies. In fact its very hard even for a human being to tell the difference between a jelly and a plastic bag floating underwater.

The leatherback turtle has been listed as an endangered species since 1970, and some researchers estimate that their population has declined 95 percent over the last 25 years.

According to researchers at Turtle Island Restoration Network, they could disappear completely in the next 5 – 30 years, even though they have survived unchanged for over 100 million years.

The declining numbers of leatherbacks are largely due to poaching, entanglement in shrimp nets or long line hooks, destruction of nesting beaches, pollution and plastic debris in the ocean. Rising sea levels are also impacting nesting beaches and the food resources of sea turtles, according to researchers at Turtle Island Restoration Network.

Leatherback Photo Credit: John Warren, courtesy of Captain Ken Stagnaro, SantaCruzWhaleWatching.com

Orcas and humpback whales at Monterey Canyon

Saturday, June 14, 2014: Today we got to see KILLER WHALES and nine humpback whales over the Monterey Canyon. And on our way home, close to Santa Cruz we came across three more humpbacks; one breached numerous times from a fair distance!

Humpback whale breach, Monterey Bay whale watching archive photo

Humpback whale breach, Monterey Bay whale watching; archive photo

Whale watching Monterey Bay trips depart out of Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor. Next trips are Sunday, June 16 at 12:00 PM and Monday, June 16 at 10:00 AM. Join us whale watching on Monterey Bay!

Whale watching Monterey. Photo: Monica Reynolds

Humpback whales near cement ship, Gray whales at Pleasure Point

Friday, June 13, 2014 Whale watching Monterey Bay: Yesterday we saw a bunch of humpback whales down in front of Moss Landing. The humpbacks got quite friendly, tail throwing for a while!

We got a good look at a couple of sunfish (Mola-Mola) then found another humpback whale near the Cement Ship, Aptos.

While wending our way over to the kelp beds to see otters, we saw a mother and calf gray whale right off of Pleasure Point!

We are launching our summer schedule, offering regular weekday trips June, July and August. The Monterey Bay is alive with whales, dolphins, sea lions, otters and more! Beautiful birds and views of the Santa Cruz/Monterey coastline are unbeatable.

CBS Evening News rides along with Santa Cruz Whale Watching

A few years back we hosted John Blackstone and his CBS News crew on board Velocity. This video features amazing footage of friendly humpback whales curious about our boat and tourists. Captain Ken Stagnaro and our naturalist Maureen Gilbert give us some great insight into the habits of Monterey Bay wildlife.

Humpback whales return each spring to their feeding grounds in Monterey Bay and remain in our local waters through November, sometimes longer! Year-round whale watching tours depart from the Santa Cruz Yacht harbor to see whales, dolphins, seals and otters, and more.  As Maureen says, “You are never the same after you see a whale in the wild.”