Tag Archives: whale watching

Humpback whale tail, Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Tina Hughes

Feeding humpbacks, dolphins, sea lions, birds

Tuesday 9/20/16: Late season humpback whales are feeding around the Monterey Bay Canyon.  Today we found 10 humpbacks feeding all together – we were near enough for some close “drive-bys,” and energetic surface behaviors! Plenty of spouts, pec slaps,  great looks at flukes as the whales dove down below the water.

Two species of dolphin joined in the feeding – Pacific white-sided dolphins and short-beaked common dolphins, along with a big pack of California sea lions.

Birds, too! We saw a black-footed albatross, and many shearwater spp.

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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

humpback.march16-2014.photo-JENN BYRD-ok to use verbal ok

Grays, Humpbacks, Common Dolphins

Monday 2/29/16 We saw 2 gray whales, 1 humpback whale, 20-40 common dolphins; a beautiful day!

Santa Cruz Whale Watching offers Whale Watching on Monterey Bay March, April, and year-round. Our tours (3.5-4 hours) are fully narrated by our captain along with an on-board naturalist. Marine wildlife can be observed in Monterey Bay year-round. In late winter/spring we see the northbound migration of gray whales, traveling from Baja to Alaska, which often includes sightings of mothers with newborn calves. It is also possible to see humpback whales arriving for their summer feeding season in Monterey Bay.


This week Orcas, whales and dolphins

Tuesday – Today we found quite a few humpback whales, with several “drive-bys” close to the boat for amazing looks.

Saturday we saw a FIN WHALE , 100s of common dolphins, many humpback whales in middle of Monterey Bay.

Friday we had a special treat – came across 4 ORCAS! We were able to watch them for about 10-15 minutes. Plus 10 humpback whales – even a few breaches!

10-13-14 Gabe Torres

Breaching whale, Monterey Bay. Photo: Gabe Torres

Orca, Monterey Bay 10-23-15

Orca, Monterey Bay 10-23-15 Photo: Michael Nelson

Wednesday’s whale watching trip we had 100’s of common dolphins, plus a friendly curious humpback whale that spent a long time near to the boat for wonderful wildlife viewing. Humpbacks were spotted near Santa Cruz, too – offshore from 26th Ave and another whale about a mile offshore from Lighthouse Point.

Humpback whale breach with Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey. Saturday, March 7, 2015. Photo: Michael Nelson

Great whale watching this week!

Here are the latest sightings whale watching on Monterey Bay.
Friday, March 6— We saw at least 8 humpback whales and 100 common dolphins.

Common Dolphins, Monterey Bay, March 2015. Photo: Michael Nelson

Common Dolphins, Monterey Bay, March 2015. Photo: Michael Nelson

Saturday, March 7— Great looks near and far of 8-10 humpback whales and amazing surface behavior: breaching, tail flips, pec-slapping! Plus 20-30 common dolphins bow riding alongside the boat.

Whale Watching Monterey 3/7/15. Photo: Michel Nelson

Whale Watching Monterey 3/7/15. Photo: Michel Nelson

Sunday, March 8— Group of 5-8 humpback whales were feeding and surfacing very close to the boat! We stayed and watched the action for over an hour.

Wednesday, March 11— A little rain won’t stop us! The sun came out as we ventured out onto flat calm seas. Passengers were treated to more surface feeding and activity near the boat by 4-5 humpback whales. Great looks at 2 gray whales on northbound migration. Check out some video from March 11 on our Facebook page CLICK HERE

Join us for year-round marine wildlife adventure! Next whale watching trips are Friday, March 13 at 10:30 AM, Saturday, March 14 at 12:00 PM and Sunday the 15th at 10:00 AM. We’ve got a Tuesday trip next week on Saint Patrick’s Day! See the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary with Santa Cruz Whale Watching!


Commitment to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Our main tour boat Velocity is now powered by brand new engines that meet the latest EPA standards in clean burning, fuel saving marine motors. These engines are quiet, have no gassy smell, and fast!

Velocity, Star of Stagnaro Charter Boats on Monterey Bay

Velocity, Star of Stagnaro Charter Boats/ Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay.

Santa Cruz County Visitor Center website is full of places to stay and more things to do in Santa Cruz on beautiful Monterey Bay.

Photo: Gabe Torres

Humpbacks “wintering” in Monterey Bay

Sightings Report for February 18, 2015:

On Wednesday’s whale watching trip we had a breacher! Several humpback whales who are “wintering” here in Monterey Bay showed us some amazing action, surface behaviors fairly near to the boat. We also saw gray whales.
Tickets available for whale watching this weekend – Saturday at 12pm and Sunday at 11am. Call 831-427-0230.

Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, California
Photo: Michael Nelson

Santa Cruz Whale Watching Sightings November 8-11

Santa Cruz Whale Watching Sightings for November 8-11, 2014

Monterey Bay is alive with marine life−humpback whales, dolphins, sea lions, birds, even mola-mola! Each day is a little bit different, but always amazing and memorable. Soon we will start looking for gray whales migrating southward from Alaska to Baja California. For now we’ll keep enjoying humpback whales, California sea lions, otters and gorgeous marine birds feeding in the Bay.

Saturday: We spotted 10 humpback whales lunge feeding in the Bay among rafts and rafts of California sea lions hoping to grab a few fish for lunch.

Whales, dolphins, humpbacks, Santa Cruz, Monterey, tours

Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, California
Photo: Michael Nelson

Sunday: We were delighted to see bottlenose dolphins frolicking in Santa Cruz before we ventured out into the foggy morning. We had to search but found several humpback whales with some
Monday: To start the trip we saw 500 common dolphins just outside the harbor! They swam alongside the boat and were just spectacular to see. We found 10 humpback whales scattered throughout the Bay. One of them breached pretty near to the boat! Also spotted – a big old mola-mola aka sunfish.
Tuesday: Lunge feeding humpback whales just 2-3 miles out from Santa Cruz. We found more whales further out, near the Soquel Hole about half-way between Santa Cruz and Moss Landing. We had great views of common surface behaviors, including head slap. Everyone enjoyed flat calm ocean conditions on Monterey Bay.

Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, California Photo: Michael Nelson

Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, California
Photo: Michael Nelson

Gray whales will soon be coming through our waters on their annual migration from Alaska feeding grounds, to their mating and calving grounds off the coast of Baja California. Each year scientists along with dedicated enthusiast take a count of this once-endangered whale species. Gray whale spouts are easily visible from land as they try to stay along the coast line to avoid predators in the open waters. Counting efforts are underway at Big Sur. According to this article, the population of gray whales is rising:

“At their lowest back in the last century, there were probably around 3,000 to 5,000 gray whales. … But they’ve recovered and stabilized at around 20,000.” –Dave Weller, NOAA

Read more about the annual gray whale survey along the California coast.

Here is a link to a comprehensive guide to whale watching with kids along the US west coast, from Washington to Southern California. Read about the many species of whales and dolphins living and thriving in the Pacific Ocean and National Sanctuaries along the Pacific coast.

whale watcing monterey

Tuesday Blue whales in Monterey Bay

Tuesday Blue whales in Monterey Bay! The Blue Whale is the largest animal to ever inhabit the earth including the dinosaurs. Their distinctive high spout can reach over 25′ and be spotted many miles away. Blue whales can usually be found in the Monterey Bay in the summer when they feed on krill (small shrimp like crustaceans).

Tuesday, July 1, 2014: 3 BLUE WHALES! Yesterday whale watching we saw 3 blue whales out in Monterey Bay: a blue whale mother with her calf, which is fairly rare to see! …and one big blue whale. TICKETS

whale watcing monterey

Blue whale feeding in Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz Whale Watching. July 1, 2014 Photo: Michael Nelson

We saw 12 humpback whales in middle of Monterey Bay, plus sea lions and a sweet visit with sea otters at the kelp beds.IMG_5425

Monday, June 30, 2014: Three Humpback whales just one mile off of Santa Cruz; More out in the middle of the Bay! The whales were breaching, feeding, good action! Two big whale breaches from a whale on the way back in to Santa Cruz Harbor. Also saw Risso’s dolphins.

About the trip:  Whale Watching on Monterey Bay
This 3-4 hour Monterey whale watching trip focuses on the Humpback Whale. The local herd comes to Monterey Bay and the central coast for seasonal feeding. They feed on anchovies, sardines, and krill (shrimp like crustaceans). There is also an increased change of spotting Blue whales in Summer and Fall.
$46.95 Adults
$32.95 Children under 14
Buy tickets online at Zerve

Welcome aboard!



Whales are vacationing in Santa Cruz County

Monterey Whale Watching – Whales Are Vacationing in Santa Cruz County

SANTA CRUZ — Santa Cruz County is playing host this month to scores of whales, including blue whales, often 70 feet long and weighing more than 100 tons.

Normally active during the winter months in Santa Cruz County, about 20,000 breaching gray whales can be seen during their annual migration along the California coast. However, krill will be plentiful this month, so the Santa Cruz County Conference & Visitors Council encourages travelers to visit the area to take advantage of the activity in the bay and opt for a whale-watching excursion while visiting.

Blue whales, fin whales and orcas have been spotted in the nutrient-rich waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Most whale-watching excursions last three to four hours, and prices start at around $40 per person except for chartered tours.

The sanctuary’s Exploration Center near the Santa Cruz Wharf is designed to give visitors a greater appreciation of the sanctuary. Part of the 12,400-square-foot center includes an open-ocean mini-theater, which uses migratory species such as whales to tell the story of the three seasons of the sanctuary and how they affect the weather, water surface conditions and kelp forest growth.

For a full listing of companies offering whale-watching excursions in Santa Cruz County, or for information about the Exploration Center and a guide to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, call 800-833-3494 or visit SantaCruz.org.

June 30, 2013