Monterey Bay Whale Watch - whale watching off Monterey, Moss Landing, Carmel

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Seabird Trips off Monterey and Moss Landing - click to learn more

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Note: Pregnant women
are not permitted on
these trips.

Well-behaved dogs are
welcome on our trips.



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Monterey Bay Whale Watch Center, photo by Sebastian Gorgol

August 2016 - Nancy Black, owner of Monterey Bay Whale Watch, was one of the authors of a jointly published paper with lead author Bob Pitman, documenting cases where Humpback Whales appear to rescue animals from orcas. The paper, "Humpback whales interfering when mammal-eating killer whales attack other species: Mobbing behavior and interspecific altruism?" was published in Marine Mammal Science in July 2016.

Read a Mother Nature report on this topic: Humpback whales around the globe are mysteriously rescuing animals from orcas.

Monterey Bay Whale Watch listed in
"Top 5 American Whale-Watching Tours"

by Joshua Horwitz!

"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 certainly) observe".

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!


Learn about
Biologist & owner
Nancy Black

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Full Day whale watching trips

Special Extended
Whale Watch Trips

In addition to our Daily Regular Whale Watch Trips, we are offering weekly extended 8-hour trips and monthly 12-hour trips.

This extended time at sea for the wildlife enthusiast gives you the ultimate whale watch: to cover more area and search for whale concentrations, more time to observe different whale behaviors, and a chance to find a variety of species including rare whales, with plenty of time to observe and photograph the animals we find. These trips also are great for people interested in a variety of seabirds!

Most trips are led by biologist, Killer Whale expert, and Captain / Naturalist Nancy Black, and/or other experienced marine biologists. This is a unique opportunity to look for whales, dolphins, and seabirds with an expert who has been studying cetaceans (whales/dolphins) with a long-term Killer Whale Project for nearly 30 years!


Learn more about Monterey Bay Whale Watch on this video:

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.

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Humpback whales lunge-feeding, photo by Nancy Black Monterey Bay Whale Watch offers year-round whale watching trips 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 Beaked Whales.

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!


Breaching Humpback Whale sequence by Jodi Frediani
Breaching Humpback Whale sequence © 2014 Jodi Frediani

Monterey Bay Whale Watch in the News and on TV Specials:
    August 2016 - Humpback whales rescuing animals from orcas.
    Humpback whales around the globe are mysteriously rescuing animals from orcas (Mother Nature Network, August 10, 2016)
    July 2016 - Humpback whales interfering with killer whale attacks on other species.
    Humpback whales interfering when mammal-eating killer whales attack other species: Mobbing behavior and interspecific altruism? (Marine Mammal Science, July 20, 2016)
    July 2016 - Large numbers of humpback and blue whales in the Bay.
    Humpback, blue whales storm Monterey Bay (Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 20, 2016)
    June 2016 - This is one of the best whale watching years ever.
    Whales flooding the Monterey Bay (Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 3, 2016)
    April 2016 - Whale watchers film orca attack in Monterey Bay.
    On April 23 whale watchers with the Monterey Bay Whale Watch boat tour observed a pod of killer whales attacking a baby gray whale right off Cannery Row. (San Francisco Chronicle, April 25, 2016)
    April 2016 - Picture of the Day.
    This is the moment a hungry killer whale toyed with a seal and sent it flying into the air. Photo by Jodi Frediani (The Telegraph, UK, April 25, 2016)
    August 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 Blue Live.
    October 2014 - Photographers Alisa Schulman-Janiger and Jodi Frediani featured on KSBW.
    PHOTOS: Epic humpback whale breaches in Monterey Bay - Featuring photos taken on Monterey Bay Whale Watch trips by Alisa Schulman-Janiger and Jodi Frediani (KSBW, October 16, 2014)
    October 2014 - Spectacular whale breach photos by Jodi Frediani featured on GrindTV.
    Whale 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)
    September 2014 - Photographer Jodi Frediani and Monterey Bay Whale Watch featured in Monterey County Weekly.
    PHOTOS: A local photographer captures the giant world of whales in Monterey Bay - Featuring photos by Jodi Frediani taken on Monterey Bay Whale Watch trips (Monterey County Weekly, September 23, 2014)
    April 2014 - Monterey Bay Whale Watch featured in San Francisco Chronicle.
    Monterey Bay's bustling marine life brings trouble, too - A pack of 20 killer whales attacked a mother gray whale and its calf. (San Francisco Chronicle, April 27, 2014)
    November 2013 - Unprecedented numbers of whales & sea lions feeding in Monterey Bay.
    On Thanksgiving eve, a feast for whales in Monterey Bay (CBS News, November 27, 2013)
    With Extra Anchovies, Deluxe Whale Watching (The New York Times, November 25, 2013)
    November 2013 - Killer Whales in Monterey Bay.
    Killer whales put on 'unbelievable' show in Monterey Bay - More than a dozen killer whales... (San Jose Mercury News, November 11, 2013)
    Huge pod of orcas adds to spectacular show on Monterey Bay - More than a dozen killer whales... (Santa Cruz Sentinel, November 11, 2013)
Humpback Whales at Sunset, photo by Katie Dunbar   October 2013 - Killer Whales in Monterey Bay.
  Diving whale stars in amazing Monterey Bay Sunset photo - Pete Thomas Outdoors - Sunset Humpbacks! Read the story behind naturalist Katie Dunbar's capture of a lava-colored waterfall cascading off the flukes of one of the hundreds of humpback whales that have been gorging on anchovies in Monterey for nearly two months. (Pete Thomas Outdoors, October 22, 2013)
  July 2013 - Video of Killer Whale "Fat Fin" breaching next to the boat.
  Monterey Bay teeming with whales - Killer Whales appeared joyful as they breached near the boat (KSBW, July 5, 2013)
    June 2013 - Blue Whales in Monterey Bay.
    Monterey Bay seeing a lot of majestic blue whales - About 2,000 are fattening up along California's coast. (The Monterey County Herald, June 30, 2013)
    June 2013 - Amazing Killer Whale photos by Daniel Bianchetta.
    PHOTOS: Orca whales frolic in Monterey Bay (KSBW, June 12, 2013)
    May 2013 - Strong winds lead to an abundance of krill, attracting Humpbacks and other marine mammals.
    Humpbacks back in the Bay: Strong winds make food abundant (Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 8, 2013)
    May 2013 - Killer Whales tracking and devouring Gray Whales in Monterey Bay.
    Orca packs devouring gray whale calves in Monterey Bay (San Francisco Chronicle, May 6, 2013)
    February 2013 - Blue Whales in Monterey Bay (very unusual for this time of year).
    Blue Whales spotted in Monterey Bay (KSBW, February 14, 2013)
    January 2013 - Killer Whales hunting dolphins in Monterey Bay
    Killer whales seen attacking dolphins in Monterey Bay (Monterey County Herald, January 14, 2013)
    Killer whales on the hunt in the Monterey Bay (Santa Cruz Sentinel, January 14, 2013)
Runner up for Responsible Whale Watch Award 2012  
  October 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
    Summer 2012 - Once again, exceptional number of Blue Whales and Humpback Whales feeding on krill in Monterey Bay.
    North state whale watchers spotting more blue whales this year (Sacramento Bee, July 29, 2012)
    July 2010 - Exceptional number of Blue Whales and Humpback Whales feeding on krill in Monterey Bay.
    Whales crowd Monterey Bay to feast on krill bonanza (Sacramento Bee, July 24, 2010)
    Large blue whale gathering a boon for Monterey tourism (Pete Thomas Outdoors, July 12, 2010)
    Best of times for whale watchers off Monterey (San Francisco Chronicle, July 11, 2010)
    Blue whale sightings on rise in Monterey Bay (KGO Channel 7 News, July 7, 2010)
    Blue whales visit Monterey Bay in search for food (Monterey County Herald, July 7, 2010)
    Blue whales, drawn by multitude of krill, emerge for a feeding frenzy (Santa Cruz Sentinel, July 7, 2010)
    Spotting Of 28 Blue Whales 'Once In Decade Event' (KSBW article and video, July 6, 2010)
    Rare Blue Whales in the Monterey Bay (KION article and video, July 6, 2010)
    An Extraordinary Number of Blue Whales and Humpback Whales Arrive to Monterey Bay - Monterey Bay Whale Watch feature article with photos
    Killer Whales from Puget Sound Resident L-Pod were spotted off Monterey on March 5, 2009.
Southern Resident Killer Whales Sighted in January and February 2008 in Monterey Bay
    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.

Southern Resident Killer Whales in Monterey Bay Southern Resident Killer Whales in Monterey Bay
Above mother & calf photos taken by Nancy Black on February 2, 2008.
Southern Resident Killer Whales in Monterey Bay
Southern Resident Killer Whales in Monterey Bay
Southern Resident Killer Whales in Monterey Bay
Above photos taken by Nancy Black on January 27, 2008.
    Related News Articles
•    Endangered killer whales emerging in Monterey Bay (Santa Cruz Sentinel Feb. 26, 2008)
•    Video featuring Nancy Black: Killer whales visit Monterey Bay (Santa Cruz Sentinel, Feb. 25, 2008)
•    Puget Sound orcas feeding in California -- again (, January 28, 2008)
•    California here we come, say Washington's (hungry) orcas (, January 28, 2008)
•    On November 15, 2008 Nancy Black gave a presentation about Orcas in a Changing World at the ACS Conference in Monterey.
•    On May 31, 2007 Nancy Black gave a presentation about Killer Whales: Their behavior and ecology in California Waters at the ACS Monterey Bay Chapter meeting.
•    Read March 28, 2007 Seattle Times article: Orca pod shows off newest member, named L109 for now
•    Read January 30, 2007 San Francisco Chronicle article: 5 dozen killer whales believed to be hunting salmon off S.F. coast
•    Blue 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.
The 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.
Killer Whale Attack Caught on Tape   KNBC-TV, Los Angeles (April 2006).
Spring and Summer Sea Life in Monterey Bay   California Tour and Travel (2005).
•    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. Learn more about this trip.
•    On 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.
Chasing the Killers: Killer whale researchers document the recent violence of Monterey Bay   Monterey County Weekly (June 2004).
Orcas feast on harvest of gray whale calves   San Francisco Chronicle (May 2004).
Watching's better than killing, says man who's done both   Dolphin World (Oct. 2003).
Killer Whales -- Killing Other Whales   National Geographic News (March 2003).

•    Gift idea: Whale Watch Trip Gift Certificates.

•    Hotel Packages are available.

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Monterey Bay Whale Watch logo (2K)
Monterey Bay Whale Watch
84 Fisherman's Wharf
Monterey, CA 93940
Phone 831-375-4658  

Copyright © 1997-2016 Monterey Bay Whale Watch. All rights reserved.
Photos by Daniel Bianchetta, Nancy Black and Sebastian Gorgol.
Web site by Starr Sites

Last updated October 19, 2016