It's officially whale watching season in Santa Cruz and the Monterey Bay and it's truly an amazing sight to witness these spectacular creatures passing through our area.
If you visit Santa Cruz in the wintertime from mid-December through mid-April you stand a very good chance of seeing some California gray whales, as thousands of them pass through the Monterey Bay during their migration from the cold Arctic Sea to the warmer waters of the Baja Peninsula. You'll probably also see some dolphins, orcas (also referred to as killer whales), otters, sea lions and other marine mammals in the bay during this time. You might even see a humpback or two as they are pretty much around all year. All of which can be seen clearly from the shores of Santa Cruz, Monterey, Aptos, Moss Landing and Carmel. Or you can opt to take a 3-4 hour whale watching tour by Stagnaro Charters, for example, or a sailing charter from Chardonnay Sailing Charters for the best close up views. The peak season usually happens from January though mid-March.
During mid-April through mid-December you can see also view orcas, humpback whales, blue whales and dolphins during their annual migrations.
Whales come to Monterey Bay throughout the year because its chock full of the things they like to eat – plankton, squid, krill, anchovies, etc., – brought to the surface due to the shape of the coastline, ongoing winds and tides. Regardless of when you come to visit you're sure to have a whale of a good time!
Fun Fact: Parts of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home were filmed in Monterey and the Monterey Bay Aquarium dressed up as the 'Sausalito Cetacean Institute.'
Let us know if you have any personal favorite Santa Cruz whale watching experiences you'd like to share, and what kinds of whales and sea life you've been able to experience in the Monterey Bay.
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