Monterey, California

Whale and Dolphin watching at Monterey, California
September 2011

The reason that makes Monterey Bay of California a hot spot for cetacean watching is the submarine canyon near to shore. The ocean upwelling bring up nutrients from deep waters to nourish a vibrant marine ecosystem. This provides an abundan ce of food for a variety of baleen and toothed whales. Oceanic and transient cetacean species that are rarely seen near to shore can also be found here.

Humpback whale

Mother and calf surfacing to take a breath Taking a deep dive
Breach!! Chin slapping

Risso's Dolphin

Side slapping
Mother and calf
Socializing Porpoising

Killer Whale / Orca (Traisient)

Porpoising Mother and calf
Hunting down a Dall's Porpoise  

(Note: Transient type of Killer Whale / Orca are mammal-hunting, ie. instead of eating fish, they hunt marine mammals like sea lion, small dolphins or porpoises, or even gray whale calf. They sometimes tossed their prey up in to the air before feasting on them:

Bottlenose Dolphin

Bottlenose dolphins at a feeding frenzy right outside the Fisherman Wharf, with >1000 sooty shearwaters, sea gulls and sea lions.

Pacific White-sided Dolphin


Cetacean species encountered in a total of 14 trips
Humpback Whale
Blue Whale
Killer Whale /Orca (transient)
Risso's Dolphin
Pacific White-sided Dolphin
Bottlenose Dolphin
Dall's Porpoise
Harbour Porpoise

Other possible species:
Northern Right Whale Dolphin
Long-beaked Common Dolphin
Gray Whale

A variety of whales and dolphins (all year round )
Humpback whale ( April - December )
Gray whale ( December - April )

Other wildlife

Leatherback Sea Turtle  
Mola Mola / Ocean Sun Fish Pelican
Sea lion  
Sea otter  
Common murrs Albatross

Monterey Bay Whale Watch, with marine biologist on board and experienced captain
Rate: US$ 47 (adult) for morning trips (4-5 hrs); US$38 (adult) for afternoon trips (2-3 hrs)
Note: Extended trip hours when exciting wildlife are found for best sightings

Transportation to Monterey Bay
Shuttle bus available from San Francisco Airport and San Jose Airport to hotels at Monterey Bay