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Whale Watching


Photo courtesy of CAPTAIN HEIDI TIURA/SANCTUARY CRUISES

Whale Watching


Click here for a list of Whale Watching Cruises


A Whale of a Show!

While the Monterey Bay is not "home" to any species of whale, the bay waters provide a playground and lunch counter for various members of the cetacean family throughout the year—the most notable being during the annual gray whale migration. Beginning in late November, pregnant female gray whales embark on their southerly migration from the Bering Sea to their warmer calving lagoons off Mexico's Baja Peninsula. The peak migration, from December to March, sees an estimated 7,000 grays migrating along the coast of California.

Blue whales—the largest animals in the world—also frequent the Monterey Bay and outer bay waters, as do humpback, fin, and minke whales. Dolphins and porpoises frolic in the bay by the thousands, and orcas, or killer whales, are also known to pass through the Sanctuary. Whale-watching tours are offered year round and are an amazing way to see the abundant sea life of the Monterey Bay from a safe distance.

Did You Know?
Monterey's only remaining whalebone sidewalk, a reminder of one of the town's most important industries from 1850 to 1900, can be found at the Whaling Station and Garden in the Heritage Harbor business park across the Recreation Trail from Fisherman's Wharf.


Whale Watching Cruises  

Chris' Fishing Trips
48 Fisherman's Wharf #1
Monterey
831-375-5951
www.chrisfishingtrips.com

Monterey Bay Whale Watch
Fisherman's Wharf Monterey
831-375-4658
www.montereybaywhalewatch.com

Monterey Sport Fishing & Whalewatching Cruises
99 Fisherman's Wharf #1 Monterey
800-200-2203
831-372-2203
www.montereywhalewatching.com

Randy's Fishing Trips
66 Fisherman's Wharf #1 Monterey
800-251-7440
831-372-7440
www.randysfishingtrips.com


Survival of the Fittest

Surely it is one of Mother Nature's most awesome displays of the struggle to survive. On occasion, folks on whale watching tours in the Monterey Bay are witness to a savage attack by pods of orcas, or killer whales. Their target? A gray whale calf. Having just been born in the warm waters off Baja, the calf and its mother are targeted as they make their northerly migration to the Bering Sea. The orcas first work to separate the baby from its mother, then move in like a pack of wolves, biting and snapping at the distressed young whale, drowning and killing it. Killer whales often visit the Monterey Bay in search of plump harbor seals and sea lions, but a gray whale calf makes an easy target for these bullies of the sea.





Majesty on the High Seas
Whale watching cruises are perhaps the most popular way to watch these majestic beauties in their own environment. Excursions last anywhere from one hour to a full day, so make sure you come prepared. Boat trips on the bay can be chilly, windy, and sometimes wet! Make sure you dress warmly, and bring along motion-sickness relief. See whale watching cruise companies listed at the bottom of this page.

If a cruise on the bay makes your stomach queasy, consider bringing your binoculars and watching from shore. Good whale-spotting areas abound all along the coast, from Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach and Carmel to Big Sur. You can even get a seagull's eye view of whales on a special at whale watching flight!