Monterey Bay, California – Whale Watching

Monterey, California – Whale Watching, Dolphins, Sea Lions, the coastline and more

It was a beautiful day for whale watching at Moss landing, California along the Monterey Bay.  Moss Landing is the Gateway to Monterey Bay.  It is said that the Monterey Bay area is one of the best area for whale watching.


Moss Landing Harbor is centrally located midway between Santa Cruz and Monterey right on Highway 1.  The Harbor’s mouth opens directly to the head of the massive Monterey Submarine canyon which means that the whale watching boats can enter the deep water immediately.  The slopes of this canyon provide very productive waters and feeding grounds for marine mammals, so whale watching operators are in perfect position to find whales quickly.

Moss landing is also the easiest access from San Francisco Bay area.  The Village and harbor offers great restaurants, wildlife viewing and walks.

Now it’s time to board the boat, High Spirits.  High Spirits is a luxurious 60ft.  U.S. Coast Guard certified and inspected non-smoking vessel certifies for 47 passengers plus crew.  Lots of space outside on the deck and indoors.  It got an upper deck accessible to passengers 18yrs+, and only 8 passengers at a time.


It also has a snack bar on board which serves hot and cold items for $1 each, and a kid’s corner with books and toys for the little ones.

After getting out from the harbor we sighted water spouts along the horizon. We could see 2 or 3 at a time. We knew that soon we’d be close enough to see the giants of the deep blue sea.


After a while we heard a whoosh, and saw a fountain sprouting out of the water, then  a huge stretched back of the humpback whale rose up  and stayed for a couple of seconds, then it dive down into the water, showing it’s huge tail fin that stood out like a fan.  What a beautiful sight!

Soon after, our captain spotted another group of whales and another more.  You will never get bored. My husband and I were expecting to see some humpback whales lunge feeding, but there was none.  (Lunge feeding is a strategy used by humpback whales to engulf large quantities of concentrated prey).  We didn’t see any dolphins either, but there are lots of sea lions.  They are the first animals we spotted on tours since they love to haul out on docks in Moss Landing Harbor.


Aside from the sea lions, the southern sea otters are abundant in Moss Landing Harbor.  Southern sea otters are the smallest marine mammal in North America.


A few more sightings then it’s time to head back to the harbor.  And maybe on our next whale watching, we can see more.




Tips if you are going Whale Watching:

Dress for snow.  You can always remove layers during the tour if it is too warm.  It’s usually about 10degrees cooler on the water than land.

Bring wide-brimmed hat, close-toed shoes (no heels!) and sunglasses.

Make sure to take your camera’s neck strap or hand strap if you don’t want to lose them into the ocean.

If you think you might be sea sick, carry some medications and a sickness bag.  You might even want to try one of those acupressure wrist band that arrest motion sickness.

Food! You can bring your own food, but they have a small snack bar on board.

Bringing your binoculars is not a bad idea.

Back in 2014, while me and my husband were driving south along the Pacific Coast Highway, pass McWay falls we saw these group of whales just a mile or two from the road.




  1. Terrific pics, thank you for sharing them. I never made it North of Long Beach but want to visit San Francisco and the surrounding area next time. California is beautiful with a magnificent coast line just primed with wildlife to see and be seen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your blog reminded me of my first boat. My father bought me that old Fountain boat. I don’t have my father with me anymore, but this boat still has a part of my heart. Thank you for bringing these memories and emotions back to me.


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