Monterey Bay Whale Watch - Trips
Sea Wolf II and Killer Whale
- Year-round whale watches
- Marine biologists on all trips
- Ample time to find and view marine animals, not rushed
- Experienced and knowledgeable captains
- Large, fully equipped boats (49-59 passengers)
- 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
We have two seasons for whale watching:
- Late spring, summer and fall (April to mid-December) for Humpback
Whales, Blue Whales and Dolphins.
- Winter and early spring (mid-December to March) for Gray Whales
In addition to scheduled trips, special group trips
can be arranged during both seasons.
Winter and Spring
Whale Watch - mid-December through March
Our main vessel is the Sea Wolf II, a 70' twin diesel that is fully Coast
Guard inspected and insured. The Sea Wolf II can hold 70 passengers, has
inside and outside seating, two restrooms, carries life vests for all passengers
and all other required safety equipment, and is equipped with navigation
devices, radar, marine radios, and depth sounder. We also use on occasion
the Pt. Sur Clipper (55'), similarly equipped as the Sea Wolf II.
Gray Whales, Dolphins, Killer Whales
- 3 hour trips
- Junior Marine Biologist for children
- Cost: Adults $40, Children 4 to 12 $27, Children 3 and under
- Trips start Saturday, December 12, 2015 and run through Thursday,
March 31, 2016.
- Daily trips, 10:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Also 7 a.m. breakfast
trips on some Saturdays. There are no trips on Christmas day
Learn more about winter and spring whale
See schedule for exact dates and times
and availability of spaces on trips.
Summer and Fall Whale
Watch - April through mid-December
Humpback Whales, Blue Whales, Dolphins, Killer Whales
All-day Killer Whale trips:
- Scheduled on selected days in April and May (See schedule
- Departing at 7:30 a.m. and returning late afternoon or evening.
- Cost for all-day trips: $145 per person.
- Children under age 12 not allowed.
- See Killer Whale All-day
Whale Watch for details.
- 4 to 5 hour trips every day except Thanksgiving
- Departing at 9 a.m. and returning between 1 and 2 p.m.
- Cost for morning trips: Adults $49, children 4 to 12 $39,
children 3 and under $15 each.
- Morning trips are scheduled every day from Tuesday, April
1 through Friday, December 11, 2015 except for Thanksgiving
- 3 to 4 hour afternoon trips every day except Thanksgiving
from April 1 to Nov. 30 and weekends from Dec. 1 through Dec.
- Trips depart at 2 p.m. and return between 5 and 6 p.m.
- Cost for afternoon trips: Adults $41, children 4 to 12 $29,
children 3 and under $15 each.
- 3 hour evening trips may be scheduled on weekends during
part of the season. Check schedule
- Evening trips depart at 5:30 p.m. and return at approximately
- Cost for evening trips: Adults $41, children 4 to 12 $29,
children 3 and under $15 each.
Learn more about summer and fall whale
See schedule for dates of trips.
Richard Ternullo, captain of the Sea Wolf II, has been running natural history
trips for over 25 years. He has a degree in Biology, is a seasoned naturalist,
and has served as president of the Monterey Bay Chapter of the American
Cetacean Society (ACS), a non-profit group dedicated to protecting whales
and dolphins through conservation, research, and education. Richard is well
known in the area for his vast knowledge of marine mammals and seabirds.
He also is involved in several research projects on whales in the Bay through
the Oceanic Society (non-profit) and the Killer Whale Project, and operates
a marine mammal sighting network involving many boat and land sightings
which are compiled and reported each month in our
Sightings summary and in the ACS newsletter.
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 10 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 that 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.
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 Wharfside 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
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
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.
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.
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 Wharfside Restaurant and you will see a large red sign
that says "Monterey Bay Whale Watch Center".
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 are available for all trips. Learn more about the Gift
Certificates, or go directly to our Gift
Certificate Order Form.
||Whale Watching Trips
Copyright © 1997-2015 Monterey Bay Whale Watch. All rights
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 April 3, 2015