A trip down the California coast wouldn’t be complete without seeing whales. While you’ll likely be able to see whales during your trip from afar, there’s nothing that matches seeing them up close and personal beside a boat. Choosing a whale watching tour can be overwhelming with all the options California offers. However, after hours of research, one company had reviews above the rest, Monterey Bay Whale Watch.
Monterey Bay Whale Watch has some of the best reviews for whale watching tours in California. They offer a wide range of tours ranging from 3 to 12 hours and running throughout the day, morning, afternoon and night. Being our first visit and taking into account our lack of experience on the water, we went with a 4 hour tour. While Monterey Bay Whale Watch (nor any tour) can guarantee that you will see whales, the success rate is incredibly high, especially during the peak seasons.
Arrival, Departure & The Boat
Our tour began at 9AM, however we had to show up 30 minutes prior to check-in. We got to the dock, received our ticket and were introduced to the crew. One aspect we loved, the boat wasn’t overcrowded. Many of the other tours leaving from the dock had PACKED boats. In addition, our boat wasn’t incredibly massive, which was great. You could take a spot on the lower deck in the front or back or on the top. We chose the front of the boat where we had 2 or 3 other couples with us.
The Drive & The Small Stuff
After getting on, we took off for about an hour to get out to the “whale watching” area. During the drive, our captain, who had a fantastic resume filled with experience from around the world, explained about the wildlife in the area, among other interesting facts. It can get cold and misty, so be sure to wear warm clothing.
First Stop, Wildlife
The first things we saw on our tour were not whales. Right as you leave, there are many seals lurking near the dock. After you get further out, there are many different species of birds. We also came across jellyfish, otters and porpoises, which were really fun to see. The porpoises were traveling in an incredibly large group and it almost seemed like there were hundreds jumping in and out of the water.
The Whale Watching
Our captain explained that Monterey Bay Whale Watch uses different techniques for tracking free roaming whales. Combining sonar, with experience and communication with other “whale watchers” this provides them with the best opportunity to locate viewing opportunities. Shortly after we reached the “search point” we came across a group of 3 killer whales. We were incredibly lucky to see these as they are not a common site on these tours. We spent around 35-50 minutes observing the group of 3 swimming together before we left to search for other whales.
Shortly after leaving the Killer Whales, we came across multiple grey whales and humpback whales. We passed by some spouting in the distance as we were cruising to specific spots. Our next stop was a Humpback Whale that was tail slapping. As we got closer, it stopped this action, but it was awesome to see from a distance.
Our last stop of the day was among multiple Humpback Whales. It seemed like we were almost surrounded. There were some mere feet from the boat and others far off in the distance. It was an amazing site to see them spouting, swimming, and going under for extended periods. These creatures are such giants and to see them up close is really a memorable experience.
Summary of our tour with Monterey Bay Whale Watch
Every time you book a tour you want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. You also want to be sure that you’re going to get a memorable experience. In the case of Monterey Bay Whale Watch, you’ll certainly get both. The hundreds of reviews they have online help them stand out, deservedly, from other options. While seeing whales was the most important factor for us, we knew it could not be guaranteed. To have seen so many whales and among them, Killer Whales, just made our experience one that will last a lifetime. Lastly, we really appreciated how professional and educated the entire staff and crew was. While some tours can feel more like a simple tourist venture, Monterey Bay Whale Watch allows you to have an experience that you will remember for a long time after you leave.
If you’re interested in booking a tour with Monterey Bay Whale Watch you can use the information below: