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Monterey Bay Whale Watch
We had such an outstanding trip with the Monterey Bay Whale Watch! Our trip lasted for 3 hours and the boat ride alone was fun, not to mention the whale! And did we see whales! Besure to read about our experience in the next tip. We could not decide whether to take this trip or the trip offered by their next door neighbor. We took the BEST one. We were out for 3 hours, they were out for 2 and a half. We saw whales up close in our last half hour, the other tour was back at the dock. We had an actual marine biologist aboard; they had a marine naturalist aboard. The Monterey Bay Watch group has determined that 3 hours is better than less time as it give them more opportunity to find and observe the whales. They guaranteed whales. If you did not see any, then your next trip is free so that you have a second chance at spotting whales. They do not, of course, guarantee how close you will get to the whales. With gray whales it is rare that you get the close up view that we did on our outing. Because of the different seasons, and the different whales that are in the area, schedules vary. In the summer when the humpback and blue whales are in the area you may choose from a 3 to 4 hour tour or a 4 to 5 tour.
- Family Travel
- Whale Watching
$5 Coupon for whale watching
For $5 off per person, see the link below. It ends up costing around $25 per person.
What to bring: warm clothes, snacks (they sold granola bars, hot drinks, and microwave popcorn).
Details of my last trip: Leaving the wharf area we saw the usual otters and sea lions nearshore. We headed up to Moss Landing and there were 3 humpbacks hanging out in the canyon area. We were fairly close and everyone got a good view. They stayed in the area for over 30 minutes.
There are also whale watching tours out of Moss Landing, which could be a good option - for us, that's where the whales ended up being (shorter transit, presumably more time on station).
Whale watching at Monterey Bay
For the best whale watching experience, go with Monterey Whale Watch where a marine biologist will be on board and their boats always have the highest whale sightings which all the other boats would actually follow on their tails.
So you'll get to watch the whales first before any other boats. Highly recommended to take some sea sickness tablets before going on the boat as the sea is quite choppy.
There are 2 seasons :
Late spring, summer and fall (May 1 to December 15) for Humpback Whales, Blue Whales and Dolphins.
Winter and early spring (December 16 to April 30) for Gray Whales and Dolphins.
Trips depart from Monterey Bay Whale Watch Center, located on Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf (Wharf #1). After parking, walk down the Wharf with all the restaurants and shops; near the end turn right at Isabella's Restaurant and you will see a large red sign that says "Monterey Bay Whale Watch Center". Ccheck in 1/2 hour before departure time.
Our Trip With the Monterey Bay Whale Watch
Gray whales were migrating through in March and we saw three different groups of them. Coming up a respectable distance so as not to disrupt their passage, we could see and hear their blow, watch them as they surfaced, again dove. We also saw a large group of small Riso Dolphins. The Monterey Bay Whale Watch is owned and often guided by a marine biologist, Nancy Black. She told us that for some unknown reason Riso Dolphins swim around gray whales, a behavior which the whales do not seem to enjoy. The whales react as though the Risos were harassing them. We could see blows and the Risos began heading toward the whales, so the boat followed. After we reached the whales, we again stopped a non-threatening distance from them. The Riso dolphins swam around and around the gray whales. Two of the whales headed toward the boat and swam right in front of the bow where we were standing. What a sight! We could clearly see them as they swam in front of us. It was easy to observe that the whales behaved differently with the dolphins around, rolling, diving, then immediately poking their faces out of the water. Then the most amazing thing happened! We were thrilled when the two gray whales that had passed below us moments before came almost right up to the side of the boat where they rolled and rolled. Gray whales rarely come up to a boat, so we were really lucky. We also saw a black footed albatross, and a sea otter swimming on his back as we made our way back to the dock. What an unforgettable day!!!
- Whale Watching
- Family Travel
We had the chance to go on a whale watching trip whilst in Monterey and it was a great experience.
Unfortunately, there were no dolphins to be seen and the whalewatching part did not start out very well.
We took the afternoon trip which lasts 3-4 hours and for the first 3 hours there was nothing to be seen. The sea was a bit rough and the boat was always changing direction to follow what seemed to be whales, but we couldn't see a single one of them.
At a certain point, the captain said we were heading home and, of course, I was a bit dissapointed.
However, at that moment, there were a couple of whales (humpback) appearing and we got a nice show.
By that time, I was already quite seasick (had never happened to me before, must have been the rough sea), so make sure you take the pill about 30 minutes before going aboard (you can get them when you buy the tickets).
We used Sam's fishing fleet, inc., but there was at least one more possibility.
There were two trips, one at 9 A.M. and another at 2 P.M., I am not sure, but there might have been a later one as well.
The morning trip lasts 4-5 hours and costs $41 and the afternoon one is $32 for 3-4 hours.
Make sure you make reservations, there was a line of at least 30 people waiting for "no-shows" and almost all of them were left behind.
- Whale Watching
- Family Travel
A little advice, not a good idea when you are 5 months pregnant!! Seeing my first whale was just amazing. Then I felt seasick and that was the end of my enjoyment and I spent the rest of the trip wishing us back on land. It really is something worth doing though, so don’t be put off by my antics onboard!!
We took Sam's Fleet to go out in the bay to look for some whales.
Luckily, there were hundreds, if not thousands, of dolphins following our boat, and our boat befriended with a couple whales.
Just make sure you take that sea sickness pills 15 min. before you get onboard.
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