Monterey Bay Whale Watch - Trips

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Contents:
Highlights    Schedule & Rates    Vessels     Biologists
Preparation    Directions    Reservations    Gift Certificates
Winter/Spring Trips    Summer/Fall Trips    Group Trips    Customer Comments   

Blackfin and Long-beaked Common Dolphins, photo by Daniel Bianchetta
Blackfin and Long-beaked Common Dolphins

--- Highlights ---


  • Year-round whale watches, in addition to pelagic seabird trips in the summer/fall season
  • Marine biologists on all trips
  • Ample time to find and view marine animals and birds, not rushed
  • Experienced and knowledgeable captains
  • Large, fully equipped boats (Capacity 49-117 passengers but limited to 24-60 passengers due to social distancing)
  • Highest sighting success for whales and dolphins
  • Assist passengers with seabird identification
  • Provide excellent photographic opportunities
  • Gray Whales, Humpback Whales, Blue Whales
  • Dolphins, Porpoise, Killer Whales
  • Sea Otters, Seals, Sea Lions, Seabirds
Read Customer Comments

--- Schedule and Rates ---

We have two seasons for whale watching in addition to pelagic seabird trips on selected dates:
  1. Winter and early spring (January to March) Whale Watch for Gray Whale, Killer Whales and Dolphins.
  2. Late spring, summer and fall (April to December) Whale Watch for Humpback Whales, Blue Whales and Dolphins.
  3. Pelagic seabird trips on selected dates in the summer/fall season.

In addition to scheduled trips, special group trips and private charter trips can be arranged during both seasons.



Winter and Early Spring Whale Watch - January through March

  

Gray Whales, Dolphins, Killer Whales

  • All trips are 3 to 3.5 hours long.
  • Junior Marine Biologist for children.
  • Trips start January 5 and run through March 31, 2021.
  • Daily trips, 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • Premium seats on the upper deck (limited to 22 passengers) are available on 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. trips.
  • Additonal trips at 8:30 a.m. and 12 noon on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Additional 3-hour Sunset trips on some Saturdays and Sundays (starting time depends on time of sunset).
  • All-day 8-hour trips are available on selected days. (See All-day Whale Watch for details and dates.)

Prices of Winter/Early Spring Trips:

        Adults    Children    Children
       4 to 12   3 & under
3 to 3.5 hour trips:      
  Weekdays $60 $48 $15
  Weekdays Premium $74 $62 $15
  Sat. & Sun. $65 $54 $15
  Sat. & Sun. Premium $79 $67 $15
         
All-day (8-hour) trips: $130 n/a n/a

Learn more about winter and early spring whale watch trips.

See schedule for exact dates and times.


Late Spring, Summer and Fall Whale Watch - April through December

 

Humpback Whales, Blue Whales, Dolphins, Killer Whales

2020 trips run through January 4, 2021. 2021 trips run April 1 through Dec. 31, 2021.
There are no trips on Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 26, 2020) or Christmas day (December 25).

  

Morning trips:

  • 3.5 to 4-hour morning trips every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • Departing at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. daily.
  • Premium seats on the upper deck (limited to 22 passengers) are available on 10 a.m. trips.
  • See chart below for trip prices.

 

Afternoon trips:

  • 3-hour afternoon trips every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • Departing at 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. daily.
  • Additional sunset trips on some Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and holidays. Departure time depends on time of sunset.
  • Premium seats on the upper deck (limited to 22 passengers) are available on 2:30 p.m. trips.
  • See chart below for trip prices.

 

All-day (8-hour) Whale Watch trips:

 

Full-day (12-hour) Whale Watch trips:

  • Scheduled on selected days during the summer/fall season.
  • Departing at 7:30 a.m. and returning in the evening.
  • Children under age 12 not allowed.
  • See Full-day Whale Watch for details and dates.
  • See chart below for trip prices.

 

Prices of Late Spring/Summer/Fall Trips:

        Adults    Children    Children
       4 to 12   3 & under
3.5 to 4 hour trips:      
  Weekdays 9 & 10 a.m. $65 $53 $15
  Weekdays 10 a.m. Premium $79 $67 $15
  Sat. & Sun. 9 & 10 a.m. $71 $60 $15
  Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m. Premium $85 $74 $15
         
3 to 3.5 hour trips:      
  Weekdays 1:30 & 2:30 p.m. $60 $48 $15
  Weekdays 2:30 p.m. Premium $74 $62 $15
  Sat. & Sun. 1:30 & 2:30 p.m. $65 $54 $15
  Sat. & Sun. 2:30 p.m. Premium $79 $67 $15
  Sunset trips $65 $54 $15
         
All-day (8-hour) trips: $130 n/a n/a
         
Full-day (12-hour) trips: $180 n/a n/a

 

 

Learn more about summer and fall whale watch trips

See schedule for dates of trips.

   

Pelagic Seabird Trips - Selected dates in summer/fall season

 

Pelagic Seabirds, also marine mammals

  

8-hour seabird trips:

  • 8-hour trips on selected dates.
  • Departing at 7:30 a.m. (boarding at 7 a.m.)
  • See Pelagic Seabird Trips for details and dates.
  • Cost per person (same for adults and children): $155
 

12-hour seabird trips:

  • 12-hour trips on selected dates.
  • Departing at 7:30 a.m. (boarding at 7 a.m.)
  • See Pelagic Seabird Trips for details and dates.
  • Cost per person (same for adults and children): $180
 

Learn more about pelagic seabird trips

   


--- Vessels ---

Sea Wolf II and Killer Whale photo by Esta Lee Albright
Sea Wolf II and Killer Whale
Our main vessel, the BLACKFIN, is a 65' Catamaran, capacity 125 passengers. Due to social distancing and CDC guidelines, we are limiting the number of passengers to 60. The Blackfin has Upstairs/Downstairs Inside/Outside seating and viewing.

The Sea Wolf II is a 70' single hull vessel, capacity 69 passengers, with inside and outside seating. Due to social distancing and CDC guidelines, we are limiting the number of passengers to 35.

The Pt. Sur Clipper is a 55' single hull vessel, capacity 48 (similarly equipped as the Sea Wolf II). Due to social distancing and CDC guidelines, we are limiting the number of passengers to 24.

All of our vessels are fully Coast Guard Inspected and insured. Each vessel carries life vests for all passengers and all required safety equipment. Our vessels are equipped with navigation devices, radar, marine radios, depth sounders and two restrooms. Each vessel has Eco-Friendly Turbo Diesel engines.

--- Marine Biologists ---

Monterey Bay Whale Watch is owned and operated by Nancy Black, the marine biologist who accompanies most trips. Nancy has a Master's of Marine Science degree from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, has worked with whales and dolphins in the region for over 25 years, and has become an expert in the biology of killer whales off the California coast. She is currently involved in several research and education programs, including primary investigator for the Oceanic Society's (non-profit) whale and dolphin research program in Monterey Bay. She works on aerial surveys for marine mammals off California with Cascadia Research, assists with field research on Alaskan killer whales with the National Marine Mammal Lab, with co-researchers has compiled a catalog of individual killer whales for California and Mexico for the National Marine Fisheries Service, and is currently photo-identifying killer whales and documenting their behavior in Monterey Bay. See a more complete bio of Nancy Black.

Other marine biologists who may accompany trips have extensive naturalist experience and are often marine educators and/or involved in marine mammal research projects. Many are graduate students from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, affiliated with the American Cetacean Society or Oceanic Society, or work independently as marine naturalists.

--- Trip Preparation ---

Location: 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 the Crab House Restaurant and you will see a large red sign that says "Monterey Bay Whale Watch Center". You should check in 1/2 hour before your departure time.

Parking: Park in the main Fisherman's Wharf parking lot, next to the marina. Follow the signs. It is a ticketed gate and you will pay when you leave.

To Wear: Dress warmly, layers are best. Dress warmly regardless of the time of year, since it is always cooler on the ocean than it is on land. Long pants with jacket and closed soft-sole shoes are best. All adults in your party are required to wear masks, due to CDC guidelines.

To Bring: Snacks and sodas are available in our shop, and in our galley on board the boat. You are welcome to bring a bag lunch or a small cooler. Sunscreen, sunglasses and hats are helpful. Bring binoculars, cameras, and video cameras if you have them.

Seasickness: We do not go out if the seas are extreme or there is a storm. However, we will be on the ocean and there is often a swell and or wind chop. Seasick medication is recommended as a precaution if you have little boating experience. You can pick up over-the-counter medicine at any drug store or you can purchase a packet of two tablets (Travel Time) at the shop as you check in. It is best to take the medicine one half to one hour before the trip.

Cancellation: We have a 24-hour cancellation policy. If we are going to cancel a trip due to weather, undersubscription, or unforeseen circumstances we will attempt to reach you at the phone number you have given us as soon as possible. If you are unsure about weather, please call and we will advise you on the trip status.

Note: Pregnant women are not allowed on these trips.

--- Directions ---

Coming from north of Monterey, from San Francisco or the Bay area: Take highway 101 south, take the Highway 156 west exit to Castroville, then turn onto Highway 1 south, then take the Pacific Grove / Del Monte exit (Exit #402B) off of Highway 1. Follow the signs to Fisherman's Wharf. If you are coming from the Bay area or San Francisco, do not take Highway 1 the whole way unless you allow plenty of extra time. It takes about 2 hours from San Francisco to Monterey following the above directions.

Coming from south of Monterey: If you are coming from southern California, take Highway 101 north to Highway 68 and the Monterey Peninsula exit. This will take you through Salinas on Highway 68. This will lead to Highway 1, stay in the left lane and follow signs to Monterey then follow signs to Fisherman's Wharf (on Del Monte Ave). If you are coming from Carmel or up the coast on Highway 1 from Big Sur, take the Munras exit (exit #399) and follow the signs to Fisherman's Wharf.

Walk down the Wharf with all the restaurants and shops; near the end turn right at the Crab House Restaurant and you will see a large red sign that says "Monterey Bay Whale Watch Center".

Monterey Bay Whale Watch Center, photo by Sebastian Gorgol

--- Reservations ---

Reservations required. Visa, MC, Discover, Travelers Checks, personal checks and cash accepted. Reservations can be made using our online reservation form or by calling (831) 375-4658 with a credit card number to hold your spot. We have a 24 hour cancellation policy. Trips may be canceled due to weather, undersubscription, or unforeseen circumstances.

--- Gift Certificates ---

Gift certificates are available for all whale watch trips. Learn more about the Gift Certificates, or go directly to our Gift Certificate Order Form.


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Monterey Bay Whale Watch logo (2K)
 
Monterey Bay Whale Watch, LLC
84 Fisherman's Wharf
Monterey, CA 93940
 
Phone 831-375-4658  
E-mail whaletrips@gowhales.com

Copyright © 1997-2020 Monterey Bay Whale Watch, LLC. All rights reserved.
Photo of Sea Wolf II and Killer Whale copyright 2004 Esta Lee Albright.
Photo of Monterey Bay Whale Watch Center copyright 2012 Sebastian Gorgol.

Last updated September 9, 2020