Monterey Bay Whale Watch - Trips


Highlights    Schedule & Rates    Vessels    Captain    Biologists
Preparation    Directions    Reservations    Gift Certificates
Winter/Spring Trips    Summer/Fall Trips    Group Trips   

Blackfin and Long-beaked Common Dolphins, photo by Daniel Bianchetta
Blackfin and Long-beaked Common Dolphins

--- Highlights ---

  • 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

--- Schedule and Rates ---

We have two seasons for whale watching:
  1. Late spring, summer and fall (April to mid-December) for Humpback Whales, Blue Whales and Dolphins.
  2. Winter and early spring (mid-December to March) for Gray Whales and Dolphins.
In addition to scheduled trips, special group trips can be arranged during both seasons.

Winter and Early Spring Whale Watch - mid-December through March


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 $15.
  • Trips start Saturday, December 17, 2016 and run through Friday, March 31, 2017.
  • 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 (December 25).

Learn more about winter and early spring whale watch trips.

See schedule for exact dates and times and availability of spaces on trips.

Late Spring, Summer and Fall Whale Watch - April through mid-December


Humpback Whales, Blue Whales, Dolphins, Killer Whales

All-day Whale Watch trips:

  • Scheduled on selected days in April and May (See schedule for dates)
  • Departing at 8 a.m. and returning late afternoon or evening.
  • Cost for all-day trips: $110 per person.
  • Children under age 12 not allowed.
  • See All-day Whale Watch for details.

Morning trips:

  • 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 April 1 through Friday, December 16, 2016 except for Thanksgiving day.

Afternoon trips:

  • 3 to 4 hour afternoon trips every day except Thanksgiving from April 1 to Nov. 30 and weekends from Dec. 1 through December 16, 2016.
  • 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.

Evening trips:

  • 3 hour evening trips may be scheduled on weekends during part of the season. Check schedule for dates.
  • Evening trips depart at 5:30 p.m. and return at approximately 8:30 p.m.
  • Cost for evening trips: Adults $41, children 4 to 12 $29, children 3 and under $15 each.

Learn more about summer and fall whale watch trips

See schedule for dates of trips.

--- Vessels ---

Sea Wolf II and Killer Whale photo by Esta Lee Albright
Sea Wolf II and Killer Whale
Our main vessel, the BLACKFIN, is a 65' Catamaran, capacity 125 passengers. It has Upstairs/Downstairs Inside/Outside seating and viewing.

The Sea Wolf II is a 70' single hull vessel, capacity 69 passengers, with inside and outside seating.

The Pt. Sur Clipper is a 55' single hull vessel, capacity 48 (similarly equipped as the Sea Wolf II).

All of our vessels are fully Coast Guard Inspected and insured. Each vessel carries life vests for all passengers and all required safety equipment. Our vessels are equipped with navigation devices, radar, marine radios, depth sounders and two restrooms. Each vessel has Eco-Friendly Turbo Diesel engines.

--- Captain ---

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.

--- Marine Biologists ---

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.

--- Trip Preparation ---

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 departure time.

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 you leave.

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.

--- Directions ---

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".

Monterey Bay Whale Watch Center, photo by Sebastian Gorgol

--- Reservations ---

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 ---

Gift certificates are available for all trips. Learn more about the Gift Certificates, or go directly to our Gift Certificate Order Form.


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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.
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 September 12, 2016