"There are many whale-watching operations in
Monterey Bay, but few can claim to be owned by marine
biologists. The tours at Monterey Bay Whale Watch
focus on learning about the whales and their environment,
as well as conserving their habitat and being respectful
towards them as living beings the same of
which cannot be said for many other local companies.
Monterey Bay Whale Watch leaves you with an intensely
deep respect and love for the animals you (almost
Joshua Horwitz is the author of War Of The Whales,
which narrates the battle between conservationists
and the U.S. military over the use of high-intensity
sonar in whale habitats. This wonderful compliment
makes us very proud!
Monterey Bay Whale Watch is Observation Post
#9 on Journey
North, which tracks the northward migration of gray
whales and other species.
This website features sightings and news provided by observers at
observation posts along the entire gray whale migration route from
Baja California to northern Alaska.
4-hour 10 a.m. and 3-hour 2:30 p.m.
are available every day.
4-hour 9 a.m. & 3-hour 1:30 p.m. trips and
8-hour 8 a.m. trips
are available on some days.
For best viewing conditions we recommend the
four-hour morning tours, which provide more
time to spend with the whales and dolphins, in
addition to increasing chances of encountering
rarer wildlife such as orcas and blue whales.
One of the best things to do in Monterey is to join one of the whale watching trips offered year-round by Monterey Bay Whale Watch. These trips allow you to observe the spectacular diversity and abundance of whales and dolphins
inhabiting the Bay. Monterey is the best place in the nation to view
a variety of marine mammals and seabirds. The Monterey Submarine Canyon
approaches close to the shore at Moss Landing, allowing deep water
species of whales, dolphins, and seabirds to occur near the coast.
Shallow water species, such as the Gray Whale, are found very close
to shore in the narrow shelf region.
Depending on the season, whales and dolphins that are frequently observed
include Gray Whales, Humpback Whales, Blue Whales, Pacific White-Sided
Dolphins, Risso's Dolphins, Northern Right Whale Dolphins, Common
Dolphins, Killer Whales, and Dall's Porpoise. We occasionally spot
Fin Whales, Minke Whales, Harbor Porpoise, Bottlenose Dolphins, and
Our captains have over 20 years of experience with nature trips and
offer excellent views of marine wildlife. All our trips are led by
marine biologists, most with 10+ years experience, who fully narrate
and answer questions during trips. Our whale watching trips are educationally
oriented and our biologists collect valuable data on the marine mammals
sighted during these trips, including distribution, relative abundance,
and behavior of whales and dolphins. We also photo-identify individual
whales and dolphins, contributing to assessments of population, residency
patterns, and migration or movement patterns.
We are unique in that we are the only whale watching group that has
marine biologists on all trips, offers trips in Monterey Bay on a
regular basis, schedules trip lengths depending on the season to allow
enough time to watch whales and other marine life, and has the most
skilled captains who know where to find whales and how to approach
them. There is a world of difference between our quality trips and
shorter trips offered by others, providing merely a quick glimpse
of a whale with no information. That's why we are considered the best
of the whale watches in Monterey Bay!
We normally offer special 8-hour
trips during the spring (April & May)
Killer Whale sightings are
more frequent. However,
these trips were not
offered in 2020, due to
trips will resume in 2021.
These extended trips allow plenty of time for searching a larger area to view & photograph a wide variety of marine mammals, birds & other sealife. Daily Humpback Whales, possibly dolphins and other whale types.
Most trips are led by biologist, Killer Whale expert, and Captain / Naturalist Nancy Black, and/or other experienced marine biologists.
April 2019 - Nancy Black and Monterey Bay Whale Watch were featured in articles and TV news stories about Killer Whales from Puget Sound.
Killer Whales from Puget Sound Visit Monterey Bay
Very Rare Sighting! Southern Resident Killer Whales In Monterey Bay, 35-40+ critically endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales - including L Pod members - a three-month-old calf (only the second encounter filmed) and several juveniles. They are most often seen in Puget Sound; we first spotted them in Monterey Bay in 2000, and last confirmed here in 2011. Fantastic to see these salmon-eaters here again! (Video taken with high zoom lenses and cropped to show detail). Filmed by FAA licensed drone pilot Mike Kauffmann.
2017 - A Pacific white-sided dolphin did a series of spectacular
backflips during our trip on Feb. 16 - caught on video/stills
by Slater Thomas Moore. The article includes an interview
with Nancy Black and a link to her Master's thesis paper.
2015 - BIG BLUE LIVE Television Event featured Monterey
Bay marine life.
PBS and BBC
presented BIG BLUE LIVE,
a Three-Part LIVE Television Event showcasing marine life
along America's West Coast, including Monterey Bay. The
show aired on the BBC starting August 23 and on PBS starting
August 31. Learn more about Big
2014 - Photographers Alisa Schulman-Janiger and Jodi Frediani
featured on KSBW.
2014 - Spectacular whale breach photos by Jodi Frediani
featured on GrindTV.
breach a bit too close for comfort - Breaching humpback
whale launches from the water in Monterey Bay and splashes
down only yards from awe-struck passengers, rocking their
boat Article by Pete Thomas, featuring photos by Jodi
Frediani (GrindTV, October 15, 2014)
2014 - Photographer Jodi Frediani and Monterey Bay Whale
Watch featured in Monterey County Weekly.
2012 - Monterey Bay Whale Watch is runner-up for Responsible
Whale Watch Award for 2012.
At the World Whale Watch Conference,
held the day before WhaleFest 2012, Monterey Bay Whale
Watch placed as runner up for the Responsible Whale Watch
Award for 2012! Learn
more about the awards.
Read reviews of Monterey Bay Whale Watch at PlanetWhale.com.
2012 - Once again, exceptional number of Blue Whales and
Humpback Whales feeding on krill in Monterey Bay.
Whales from Puget Sound Resident L-Pod were spotted off
Monterey on March 5, 2009.
Killer Whales Sighted in January and February 2008 in
On January 27, 2008 Monterey
Bay Whale Watch sighted about 40 members (some identified
as L Pod) of the Southern Residents best known from Puget
Sound and an endangered group of whales in Monterey Bay.
These Killer Whales were seen again on February 2.
Click on small images
below to see larger images.
Above mother &
calf photos taken by Nancy Black on February 2,
photos taken by Nancy Black on January 27, 2008.
Planet - Seas of Life TV special was
shown on Animal Planet. Monterey Bay Whale Watch is featured
in Episode 1 - Ocean World, and in Episode
9 - The Making of the Blue Planet.
Discovery Channel's Animal
Planet featured Monterey Bay Whale Watch in the television
show Caught in the Moment, Episode
Seven: Monterey Bay. For details see Caught
in the Moment on the Animal Planet website.
Gray Whale Obstacle Course PBS Special
originally aired on July 19, 2006, and was shown again
on August 16 at 8 p.m. Part of a series of Jean-Michel
Cousteau's Ocean Adventures, this special
traces the Gray Whale migration from Alaska to Baja California
and back. In Monterey Jean-Michel interviews local killer
whale expert and biologist Nancy Black. Local scenes include
killer whales attacking a gray whale mother and calf.
Monterey Bay Whale Watch
sponsored a fund-raising whale-watching boat trip for
the Monterey Bay Chapter of the American Cetacean Society
(ACS/MB) on Sunday, August 21, 2005.
August 2, 2005: Nancy Black gave a presentation entitled
Orcas: Behavior and Ecology of Killer Whales at
the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA.
On May 25, 2005, a story
about Monterey Bay Whale Watch, Nancy Black, and Killer
Whales was featured on the CBS Evening News.
On May 11, 2005, Nancy Black
and Monterey Bay Whale Watch were featured on the Today
Show on NBC.
The BBC film "Killer
Whale: Killer Culture" was featured on the Discovery
Channel on September 14, 15 and 21, 2004. Nancy Black
and Richard Ternullo of Monterey Bay Whale Watch were
scientific consultants on the film project for parts filmed
in Monterey Bay as well as in Alaska.