Gift Certificates

Any Dollar amount!

For any Stagnaro Trip

Call (831) 427-0230

Gift certificate doesn't guarantee a spot on a specific trip. Reservations required

Recent Sightings

Blue whale feeding near whale watching boat

Thursday, June 8, 2017 – Lunge feeding blue right off our bow less than 100 yards! It was a smaller one, maybe 60 ft. Super cool. Plus our summer humpback whales and pod of white sided dolphins!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 – Humpbacks, Blues, & Sharks

blue whale monterey

Jenny O'Leary | Fri, Oct 20, 2017 3:42 PM

Monterey Bay whales, dolphins, otters, sharks

Sunday, June 4, 2017 – We found humpback whales feeding out near the Soquel Canyon, bottlenose dolphins near the Cement Ship, lots of otters in the kelp, and so many white sharks of New Brighton Beach, we lost count!

Monterey California Otters in the Kelp

White sharks at cement ship santa cruz california

Jenny O'Leary | Sun, Jun 4, 2017 3:46 PM

Humpback whale feeding frenzy

Saturday, June 3, 2017 – Humpback whales are feeding in the Bay! Last trip we also saw Risso’s Dolphins 8 great white sharks, up to 12 feet long!

humpback whale fluke monterey bay with shearwaters

Rissos dolphins

8 sharks today

Jenny O'Leary | Sat, Jun 3, 2017 3:40 PM

Lots of humpback whales feeding in Monterey Bay

Saturday, May 27, 2017 – We’ve been seeing lots of little pods of humpbacks concentrating around the canyon. They have been feeding on a mix of krill and baitfish. We had some really close looks at beautiful humpbacks spouting and fluking up! Sharks are still around too!

Whale Fluke 5-27-17 Monterey Bay

 

Jenny O'Leary | Sat, May 27, 2017 3:11 PM

First Blue Whale of the Season in Monterey Bay

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 – We found a Blue Whale in Monterey Bay! Plus, 15 humpback whales, some near to the boat, all just at the entrance above Monterey Canyon. Then we found a Great White Shark along the coast.

 

Jenny O'Leary | Tue, May 23, 2017 3:03 PM

Humpback Whales, Risso's Dolphins, Sharks

Sunday, May 21, 2017 – So many humpback whales near Moss Landing, and 8 Great White Sharks! 

Saturday, May 20, 2017 – Humpback whales, Risso’s dolphins, Sharks

Friday, May 19, 2017 – On Friday we had lunge feeding humpback whales right next to the boat!

Humpback whales Monterey Bay May 2017

Risso dolphins Monterey Bay

Sharks in Monterey Bay May 2017

Jenny O'Leary | Sun, May 21, 2017 2:10 PM

A Special Treat Leatherback Turtle Spotted in Monterey Bay

Wednesday, May 18, 2017 – It’s been a little windy this week but we’re finding humpback whales, super active! Breaching, tail slaps.  Today we saw humpback whales and a special treat: A rare sighting of the leatherback turtle.

(Archive photo: John Warren)
Leatherback Turtle Monterey Bay

 

 

Jenny O'Leary | Thu, May 18, 2017 3:52 PM

Whale Tails and Playful Dolphins

Wednesday, May 10: Today on board Velocity we found 8 humpback whales out near the Soquel Canyon on the Santa Cruz side of Monterey Bay. One breach! Tail slaps! And dolphins bow riding as we headed back in to port. Nice day out!

Photo: Michael Nelson

monterey bay whale watching

Jenny O'Leary | Wed, May 10, 2017 2:23 PM

Eight humpback whales

Friday, May 5, 2017: Even in the windy conditions, we found lots of anchovies and a pod of at least eight humpback whales following the bait.

Video: Megan Petersen, on board Velocity/Santa Cruz Whale Watching

Jenny O'Leary | Fri, May 5, 2017 2:07 PM

Orcas Cruising Monterey Bay

Wednesday 5/3/17:  We found 12-15 orca today on Monterey Bay, 2 different groups! 2 breaches, 2 spy hops, multiple “drive-bys’ near to the boat, and some came right up to and swam under the boat. The killer whales are feeding on sea lions out in the Bay.

Monday 5/1/17:  More orca action! We counted at least 10 orca interacting (harassing?) with the humpback whales off the coast of Santa Cruz today. The humpback whales exhibited tail slaps and vocalizations!

A glimpse of the Orcas in Monterey Bay, as seen from the Captain's Deck, Velocity, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching Tours. Video: Gabe Torres


 

Jenny O'Leary | Wed, May 3, 2017 2:04 PM

Springtime Brings Variety to Monterey Bay

From April through May we expect to see gray whales migrating northbound back to feeding grounds in the Bering Sea of Alaska, and the arrival of humpback whales into the Monterey Bay for their summer-fall feeding season. This is a great time of year to look for orca hunting activity in our area, too! Here is an update on what we have been seeing lately on our whale watching tours with Santa Cruz Whale Watching.

4/30/17 Amazing day with friendly humpback whale that visited the boat for about an hour! A great day with humpback whales in Monterey Bay!

Velocity, April 30 with our friendly whale, Photo: Lisa Ann Crivello (Thank you!)
Velocity with humpback whale 4-30-17 Lisa Ann Crivello

4/29/17 We saw Orcas again today in Monterey Bay! There were about 20-30, but we focused on a group of 8-10 nearer to the boat. The orcas were porpoising and frolicking, putting on a great show! One calf even came up close to the boat and rolled over to show us his belly. Adorable!

4/23/17 – Sunday we had breaching humpback whales, despite windy conditions. Luckily guests were able to warm up with hot cocoa from the galley snack bar.

Here's some gorgeous video of gray whales migrating through Monterey Bay  on their way north back to Alaska. Video by Daniel Hernandez

Jenny O'Leary | Sun, Apr 30, 2017 3:38 PM

April in Monterey, Orca and Humpbacks

4/22/17 – More killer whales! We counted 20 Orca and 3 humpback whales. The orcas are hunting in big numbers; we witnessed an encounter between 3 humpback whales and a pod of killer whales.

Jenny O'Leary | Sat, Apr 22, 2017 1:37 PM

Orcas Today!

4/21/17 – Orcas today! We got fantastic looks at 20-25 killer whales, whizzing by pretty close to the boat! We were able to observe them for over an hour! And we saw 2 humpback whales.

Orca, also known as Killer Whales can be seen at any time of year in Monterey Bay, but they are unpredictable. They are  most common during April, May, and June as they predate on northbound migrating Gray Whales, usually mother and newborn calves.

 

 

Jenny O'Leary | Fri, Apr 21, 2017 1:29 PM

Rainy Day Humpback Whales and Bottlenose Dophins

4/17/17 –   Rain or Shine! Today we found 10 humpback whales feeding on big schools of anchovies about 3-4 miles out from Santa Cruz! Then we followed a pod of 6 bottlenose dolphins near Santa Cruz.

Jenny O'Leary | Mon, Apr 17, 2017 1:24 PM

Spring Grays make way for Summer Humpback Whales

Springtime in Monterey Bay is one of the best times to see multiple whale species, as gray whales migrate north back to Alaska and the early arrival humpback whales are coming into Monterey Bay to feed over the summer months.

Saturday 4/15/17 Northbound gray whale out in front of the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor, two humpback whales over the Soquel Canyon.  Otters, too!

Friday 4/14/17: Two grays today right out front of the Santa Cruz Harbor–Mother & calf!

Jenny O'Leary | Sat, Apr 15, 2017 3:55 PM

Humpback Whales Arriving for Springtime!

Tuesday 4/11/17: Six humpback whales – Great close up looks – then Risso's dolphins, all on the Santa Cruz side of Monterey Bay.  Gorgeous conditions today!

Jenny O'Leary | Tue, Apr 11, 2017 3:39 PM

Northbound Gray Whales

4/10/17: We started the trip with a pair of northbound gray whales. Then, headed out for the canyon, we encountered a single lunge feeling humpback. And then, a bit further over the canyon, we had a pair of two huge and very friendly humpback whales that circled the boat several times, approaching the boat so close we could see the barnacles on their snouts! There was even a sea otter waiting for us in the harbor upon our return. Not to mention gorgeous weather and calm seas!

Daren Barry | Tue, Apr 11, 2017 1:46 PM

The Art of Nature - Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

Visit our friends at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History just a few blocks from the Harbor, across from Seabright Beach. They have a wonderful exhibit of Scientific Illustration on view until June.

Daren Barry | Tue, Apr 11, 2017 1:34 PM

Aldo's Serves Breakfast & Seafood Lunch

Aldo's serves great breakfast and seafood lunch, easy al fresco dining on the waterfront! Aldos Santa Cruz Harbor

Daren Barry | Mon, Mar 27, 2017 4:21 PM

Humpback Whale & Mama Calf

Sunday 3/26/17: Humpback whale mama and calf! These two lolled around near to the boat, the baby fluked up for looks at its tail. Mama stayed close by. At one point the whales swam under the Velocity, popping up on the starboard side! We also cruised down to Seacliff beach for an array of harbor seals and otters.

Saturday 3/25/17 Two whale species today: We had a breaching gray whale and a tail throwing humpback!

Next trips are Wednesday and Friday, then daily starting April 1st

Daren Barry | Mon, Mar 27, 2017 1:24 PM

Northbound Gray Whales along Santa Cruz Coast

Gray Whales on the move - Look for the whale tail at :24!

Join us whale watching in the Monterey Bay today at 11:00 AM!

Daren Barry | Sun, Mar 26, 2017 9:33 AM

Breaching Gray & Tail Throwing Humpback

Today we had a breaching gray whale and a tail throwing humpback!

Daren Barry | Sat, Mar 25, 2017 5:40 PM

Gray Whale Sightings | Whale Watching in Monterey Bay

The gray whale sightings this season have been plentiful all up and down the Pacific Coast and inside Monterey Bay.

 On our most recent trip we encountered 3 frisky gray whales along the bow, in 100 feet of water right outside the Santa Cruz Harbor near Twin Lakes Beach! Later we found 9 gray whales about 4 miles off shore. Great looks and great energy from a thriving gray whale population this year! April – May we expect to see gray whales migrating northbound back to feeding grounds in the Bering Sea of Alaska.

Daren Barry | Sat, Mar 25, 2017 11:32 AM

Otters while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Springtime otters, breaching humpbacks, migrating gray whales

Spring is here bringing a lively mix of sunny days, cleansing rain, and a wonderful variety of marine wildlife to see with Santa Cruz Whale Watching! Several species of whales & dolphins, sea birds, otters and sea lions mix it up, to delight all visitors to Monterey Bay.

Sunday 3/19/17 — We had two breaching humpback whales out on Monterey Bay! We saw a pod of 12 Risso’s dolphins, and got great looks at harbor porpoises, harbor seals and California sea otters in the kelp beds near Santa Cruz.

Saturday 3/18/17 – Springtime proves to be a great time of year to see multiple whale species out on Monterey Bay! We found four humpback whales and 10 gray whales. Gray whales will continue to travel northbound along the Santa Cruz coastline throughout April and May.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230

Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Photo: Michael Nelson | Monterey Bay, March 19, 2017

This entry was posted on March 21, 2017 by jennyo.


Gray Whales Near Santa Cruz

Gray while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Wednesday 3/15/17 We followed 3 different gray whales swimming close into shore from Santa Cruz. Good looks at whale tails. A beautiful day on flat calm seas!

Join us this weekend! Saturday 3/18 and Sunday 3/19 whale watching trips depart at 11am.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230

This entry was posted on March 17, 2017 by jennyo.


Sunday 3/12/17 — Good Day with Gray Whales

Gray while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

The gray whales led the way on Sunday! We kept our whale watching tour along the coastline, following several sets of gray whales swimming northbound through Monterey Bay. There were plenty of gray whales just 1-2 miles offshore from Santa Cruz — wonderful to see whale spouts over here, there, everywhere! We followed several small groups of whales up the coast towards Davenport; a few groups of two, then a trio of gray whales who were the most active, showing tail flukes (diving), a spyhop, and other active surface behaviors.

On the way in we got good looks at otters in the kelp beds. It was a beautiful day on Monterey Bay!

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230

Spring Break Whale Watching Trips run daily April 1-16!

This entry was posted in on March 14, 2017 by jennyo


Gray, Humpback Whales, Springtime Dolphins

Over the last week we have had some delightful whale watching trips! Last Sunday we found lots of gray whales over the outer Monterey Bay, and got great looks at a huge pod of dolphins that swam and played alongside the boat!

On Tuesday we hosted a group of high school students who brought us great luck – spotting humpback whales near Santa Cruz, and gray whales further out towards Monterey.

Saturday whale watching another lovely day – between storms we’ve had some beautiful conditions! Guests spotted several humpback whales, and one breached out of the water! We noted that the 2 gray whales we saw on this trip seemed to be heading south! Most likely these animals will be late for the breeding season in Mexico. Usually at this time of year in Monterey we are starting to see gray whales migrating northbound, returning to Alaska for the summer.

It’s also exciting to see migratory ocean birds visiting Monterey Bay – This trip a keen-eyed passenger spotted a Tufted Puffin!

Tufted Puffin while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Tufted Puffin, Monterey Bay, March 4 2017 | Notice the red feet and the large plumes on the head. Photo: James Maughn

Join Santa Cruz Whale Watching on Monterey Bay this weekend!

Saturday 3/11 at 10:00 AM and Sunday 3/12 at 11:00 AM.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230

Spring Break Whale Watching Trips run daily April 1-16!

This entry was posted on March 11, 2017 by jennyo.


Gray Whales, Dolphinss Sea Birds

Tufted Puffin while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Sunday, February 12, 2017: Today we were able to catch up with 2 adult southbound gray whales, that allowed us to watch them surface and dive many times, treating the crowd to close looks and several tail flukes! Along the way we spotted Risso’s dolphins, numerous sea otters and sea lions, and a variety of seabirds in winter plumage! As we were nearing the harbor, we spotted a third gray whale, on its way north. A beautiful, crystal clear day to view some of California’s unique marine wildlife!

Thank you to everyone who visited our booth at the Migration Festival this weekend, and a special thanks to Natural Bridges State Park for hosting. We look forward to having you out on a whale watching trip!

Pelican while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Pelican, Santa Cruz, CA | photo courtesy Luv Kothari

This entry was posted on February 13, 2017 by jennyo.


Winter Wildlife, Migration Festival

  • Celebrate Winter Wildlife in Santa Cruz County
  • Migration Festival, Saturday, February 11, 2017

Come visit us at the Migration Festival at Natural Bridges State Park and enter to win a Free Whale Watching Trip!

*Saturday, February 11 from 11 AM to 4 PM

*End of West Cliff Dr. at Swanton Blvd., Santa Cruz, California 95060

Come to Natural Bridges State Beach for a full day of activities that celebrate the migration of whales, butterflies, birds and the many creatures that travel. The park will host migratory animal talks, active kids’ games, crafts, skits, live music by the nature-loving 5M’s Band, educational booths and displays, along with the now-famous free habitat-cake served at the end of the event. You can purchase a picnic at the park or bring your own. Event is free; vehicle day-use fee is $10. For more information, please call (831) 423-4609 or email NaturalBridgesStateBeach@gmail.com.

Facebook Event

This entry was posted on January 29, 2017 by jennyo


Gray Whales, Humpbacks, Otters, Birds

Grays while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Monday 1/16/17 Mom and baby day! We spotted a sea otter mama and pup on the way out, and a gray whale mom and calf on the way home! In between we were treated to wintering humpbacks showing their tail flukes while diving on bait over the Monterey Bay Canyon. We counted 6-8 humpbacks, one breacher!

Photos: Michael Nelson

Grays while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Grays while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Sunday 1/15/17 Lots of humpback whales in the bay! We had a humpback whale breaching, and saw more gray whales crossing the outer Monterey Bay. Seabirds: common murres

Grays while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Saturday 1/14/17 We had 4 gray whales heading south and several humpback whales – one humpback whale did a tail throw for us! | The weather is beautiful out there. (Video below: Michael Nelson)

Winter Wildlife Viewing at its Finest! Join us year round with Santa Cruz Whale Watching Trips on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230

This entry was posted on January 17, 2017 by jennyo.


Northern Right Whale Dolphins

January 2, 2017 – Happy New Year! We've continued to see our winter humpback whales over the past weeks! Gray whales are starting to pass through the area. Plus today, a pod of Northern Right Whale Dolphins.

This entry was posted on January 2, 2017 by jennyo.


Northern Right Whale Dolphins

January 2, 2017 – Happy New Year! We've continued to see our winter humpback whales over the past weeks! Gray whales are starting to pass through the area. Plus today, a pod of Northern Right Whale Dolphins.

This entry was posted on January 2, 2017 by jennyo


2016 Sightings

Winter Solstice brings friendly humpback whales, lively dolphins, and ocean birds

Grays while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Wednesday, 12/21/16: A beautiful winter day on the Monterey Bay! We had multiple pairs of humpbacks, one of which came in for a close inspection of the boat! We were also treated to a large group of pacific white sided dolphins, bow riding and frolicking in the waves. On the way home we encountered some of our earlier humpbacks feeding near the surface. Birders enjoyed looks at a black footed albatross, many species of shearwater, and northern fulmars.

Dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Pacific White-sided Dolphins. Monterey Bay, Dec. 21, 2016. Photo: Michael Nelson

Grays while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Albatross, Monterey Bay, CA Dec 21, 2016 | Photo: Michael Nelson

This entry was posted on December 22, 2016 by jennyo.


Orca Sighting on Sunday Dec 18, 2016

Orca while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

3 killer whales (Orca) out by the Soquel Canyon and 2 humpbacks in the Pajaro Canyon.

Orca while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Photo: Michael Nelson

This entry was posted on December 19, 2016 by jennyo.


Lunge Feeding Whales, Sea Lions

Lunge Feeding Whales while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Saturday 12/3/16 We had some great looks at a large group of lunge feeding humpback whales on Saturday. The whales were dining midday out at Pajaro Canyon, alongside hundreds of California sea lions. These are late season whales in Monterey Bay. We are soon expecting to see gray whales on their annual migration between Alaska and Baja California.

Join us on board Velocity or Legacy for an unforgettable adventure on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary – one of the top wildlife viewing locations in the world!

Santa Cruz Whale Watching trips run every weekend, and DAILY starting December 20 through January 1.

Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

2 Photos by: Michael Nelson

This entry was posted on December 6, 2016 by jennyo.


Humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Fall - Winter Sightings

We loved having so many family groups out on the boat this week. Each day of Thanksgiving week we got some great views of 10-20 humpback whales that are active in Monterey Bay right now. These humpback whales are feeding and showing surface behaviors such as tail slaps and breaching above the water. We’re getting to see big pods of common dolphins, otters in the kelp beds, and California sea lions. Our cover photo is from passenger Matija Vižin, taken on Tuesday 11/22 when we saw 10 humpback whales – one full breach! – Good looks, lots of flukes.

We’ve had a certain population of humpbacks staying around over winter for the last several years. As long as they are able to eat they will stay in the area instead of participating in migration to Central America.

We’ll soon be keeping an eye out for gray whales migrating south towards their winter mating/calving waters in Baja, Mexico. Over 20,000 gray whales pass through Monterey Bay every year!

Santa Cruz Whale Watching Trips run every weekend in December, and DAILY from December 23 – New Year’s Day. Join us for adventure on the Bay!

Tickets are $48.95 for adults and $34.95 for kids age 4-13.

Reservations recommended!

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230

This entry was posted on November 27, 2016 by jennyo.


Happy Thanksgiving

Humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Over the last week up to 6 humpback whales have been seen spouting and feeding near Santa Cruz and the north part of Monterey Bay. Long beak common dolphins and Risso's dolphins are also active in the Bay right now.

Happy Thanksgiving! Here's the whale watching schedule this week:

Tuesday 11/22 at 11am
Wednesday 11/23 at 11am
Thursday 11/24 at 10am
Friday 11/25 at 12pm
Saturday 11/26 – two trips! – 8:30am and 12:30pm
Sunday 11/27 at 12pm

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230

This entry was posted on November 21, 2016 by jennyo.


Dolphins and Humpback Whales This Week

Huge Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Saturday 11/12/16

Saturday, one lunge feeding humpback right in front of harbor, then 200 common dolphins by the Pajaro Canyon, as well as one breaching and pectoral fin slapping humpback, plus a few other scattered humpbacks.

Friday 11/11/16

Good looks at a group of lunge feeding humpbacks near Pajaro.

Here's some recent video from our friend Michael Nelson ~ A glimpse of a feeding frenzy with humpback whales and California sea lions, October 2016.

Visiting Santa Cruz

Check out these fun traveler tips for an easygoing visit to Santa Cruz – This article highlights some of our favorite beaches and places to eat and drink, just a bit off the beaten path. Enjoy! Click here to read about Santa Cruz travel tips.

Thanksgiving Week

Our whale watching schedule for November and December is now up on our website. Book your family outing now! Call 831-427-0230 or click the “Book Now” button at santacruzwhalewatching.com. Welcome aboard!

This entry was posted on November 14, 2016 by jennyo


November Humpbacks near Santa Cruz

Humpback spout while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Sunday 11/6/16 ~ Whale Watching on ‘Legacy’

Five humpbacks, one minke whale, and 200 to 300 common dolphins west of the Soquel Canyon.

Friday, 11/4/16 ~ Whale Watching on ‘Legacy’

Group of four humpbacks over the Soquel Canyon. Pair of humpbacks one of which did a couple of tail throws, and a few scattered whales throughout the Monterey Bay. A couple of large packs of sea lions swimming with the whales.

We also continue to see a few whales near West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz.

Legacy used while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

This entry was posted on November 5, 2016 by jennyo


Look for spouts @ West Cliff and Seabright

spouts while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

10/28 - 11/2

Lunge feeding humpback whales on last Friday and Saturday trips! We also saw dolphins and rafts of sea lions in the feeding grounds of pristine Monterey Bay.

Today 11/2 we are spotting whale spouts from shore, near Seabright and West Cliff Beaches.

Lunge Feeding while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Lunge feeding humpback whales 10-28-16. photo: Megan Petersen

This entry was posted on November 2, 2016 by jennyo.


Whales near shore Santa Cruz; Rare Sperm Whale spotted in Monterey Bay

Sperm Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Sunday 10/23: Again we found Humpback Whales near Santa Cruz, feeding along with rafts of California Sea Lions. (Photos courtesy Michael B Nelson)

Saturday, 10/22: Humpback whales close to Santa Cruz!

Friday 10/21: Whales up the coast a bit, near Davenport!

Thursday, 10/20: We spent time with 3 lunging humpback whales outside Wilder Ranch, then a cruise back down to Aptos to find a white shark near the Cement Ship, Seacliff State Beach.

MONTEREY BAY – For the first time in five years, a sperm whale has been sighted in the Monterey Bay.

Sperm Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Photo: Michael Nelson

Sea Lions while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

California Sea Lion, Photo: Michael Nelson

This entry was posted on October 25, 2016 by jennyo.


October Humpbacks Feeding, Dolphins

Bottlenose Dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Tuesday 10/18/16: Our trip today on Legacy, we found 10 humpback whales and 100 Pacific white sided dolphins!

This entry was posted on October 18, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Beautiful day up close with humpback whales: VIDEO

Tuesday, Sept. 27 – Mama and baby humpback playing with us today! Calf was breaching and pec slapping. Humpback whales are scattered, feeding throughout the Bay.

Monday, Sept. 26– We found whales! 7-8 humpback whales and ~100 sea lions center of Monterey Bay.

This entry was posted on September 30, 2016 by jennyo.


Welcome to Autumn in Monterey Bay

Pacific White sided dolphin while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Sunday 9/25 on Velocity– 12 Humpback Whales, 500 Common Dolphin, 100 Pacific White-sided Dolphin

Saturday 9/24 on Legacy– We found 6 Humpback Whales, lunge feeding, plus 12 Risso’s Dolphins

Lagacy used while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

This entry was posted on September 26, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Friday – Orcas

Friday 9/23/16: Today we found 2 Orcas! Nice looks at “Fat Fin” and a buddy out in the Bay. Also humpback whales, and a pod of common dolphins on the way back in.

Wednesday9/21/16 – Windy out there, but we found whales – a humpback whale breached for us! And plenty of dolphins and otters along the way.

This entry was posted on September 23, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Feeding humpbacks, dolphins, sea lions, birds

Huge Whale Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Tuesday 9/20/16: Late season humpback whales are feeding around the Monterey Bay Canyon. Today we found 10 humpbacks feeding all together – we were near enough for some close “drive-bys,” and energetic surface behaviors! Plenty of spouts, pec slaps, great looks at flukes as the whales dove down below the water.

Two species of dolphin joined in the feeding – Pacific white-sided dolphins and short-beaked common dolphins, along with a big pack of California sea lions. Birds, too! We saw a black-footed albatross, and many shearwater spp.

Bird while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

This entry was posted on September 21, 2016 by jenny

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Risso’s dolphins, baby bottlenose, humpback whales

Huge Whale Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Friday 9/16 Today’s trip started with bow-riding bottlenose dolphins right outside the harbor, including a new-born dolphin and mom! 6 humpbacks out over the canyon on the north side, fluking up – some close drive bys for good looks at the whales.

Wednesday 9/14 Humpback whales feedings, plus 500 Risso’s Dolphins, jumping and breaching!

Monday 9/12 Humpback whales breaching, rail-slapping and pec slapping behaviors; nice close-up looks!

This entry was posted on September 16, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Orcas again today!

2 Killer Whales while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Saturday, September 10:
There are several groups of humpback whales feeding just offshore from the Santa Cruz Harbor, but the highlight today were orcas! The orca put on a good show for our morning whale watching trip.

Humpback whales are still here in Monterey Bay feeding closer to shore, as well as over the canyon. Conditions are lending themselves for surface feeding! We’ve seen a good amount of lunge feeding from some pretty big whales. They’re at their heaviest for the season. Dolphin sightings have included Risso’s and Long-beaked Common dolphins, as well as several harbor porpoise. There are still jellies around, and we’ve seen a few mola molas too.

9/7 Wednesday – Humpbacks lunge feeding – nice close looks. To start the trip we were joined by a large pod of Risso’s Dolphins alongside theboat

9/5 Monday – Labor Day – 10 humpback whales lunge feeding, and Orcas!

9/4 Sun – Orcas swimming, bow riding under the boat!

**National Geographic Humpback Whale Gallery**

This week, many populations of humpback whale have been removed from the endangered species list, which is wonderful news! Our Monterey “Pacific Coast” population remains threatened, however. Enjoy this wonderful photo gallery of our beloved humpback whale!

If these images are not enough, check out the gorgeous photography show at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, located just a few blocks from the Harbor!

California: At the Water's Edge | Nature and underwater photography exhibit runs until Nov. 13 at Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, 1305 E. Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz or call (831) 420-6115

This entry was posted on September 10, 2016 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Dolphins, Blues, Humpback Whales VIDEO

Here is some great video of lunge feeding. The bright pink baleen can be seen as the whale reaches the surface.

Monday, August 29We started the trip accompanied by a pod of 100 common dolphins, bow riding and traveling along with us through Monterey Bay! Later we found about 10 humpback whales and one blue whale. Today they were diving deep for food! But we got to see flukes and close looks while they were at the surface.

Saturday & Sunday August 27/28 The last two days we've had awesome looks at blue whales! Blue whales are in Monterey Bay is large numbers this season, and they are friendly! They'll swim close to the boat for great looks, and some have been seen lunge feeding!

Also we've had very active humpback whales – lunge feeding and showing wonderful surface behaviors. Today one humpback whale was doing a circus routine: a triple tail slap, 3 head throws, and then 3 breaches which it repeated and repeated. Amazing!

We also had Risso's dolphins further out in the bay.

This entry was posted on August 30, 2016 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Every blue whale is here right now!

Blue Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Friday 8/5 – Thursday 8/11

Thursday: Oh, Wow! ~ 15 Blue whales and twice as many humpback whales all around us now! “I think every blue whale in the greater Monterey Bay Area is here right now!”

Wednesday: 5 Blue whales! Many humpback whales ~ awesome day!

Saturday/Sunday Both days we spent some lovely time with a mother humpback and her 20 ft calf, tandem diving near Pajaro.

Humpback Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback whale breach! photo: Amanda Kreft

Friday: 7 Fin whales, Dahl's porpoises Breaching humpback whale close to Santa Cruz!

Humpback Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Fin Whale, August 5, 2016. Monterey Bay, CA Photo: Michael Nelson

This entry was posted on August 11, 2016 by jenny

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Humpback, Blue, Fin Whales in Monterey Bay

Humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Blue whale photo: Travis Norton

Tuesday, August 2:

  • 30+ Humpback whales
  • 6 Blue whales
  • 6 Fin whales
  • Dahl’s Porpoises
  • Risso’s Dolphins
  • All outside Santa Cruz

This entry was posted on August 3, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Monterey Bay has it all!

Humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Wednesday, July 27: 1 Fin whale, and a very friendly humpback whales swam alongside the boat for a while

Tuesday, July 26: 3 charming blue whales, 1 friendly Fin whale, 4 humpback whales one of which did a lot of tail slapping behavior

Whale behavior while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Whale Surface Behaviors (Image Copyright Rainforest Publications)

Saturday, July 23:

  • 20+ humpback whales
  • 3 blue whales
  • Dozen Risso’s dolphins
  • Dozen Bottlenose dolphins
  • 5 white sharks

Blue Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

BlueWhale-5 Buss Marple 7-23-16

Friday, July 22:

  • 2 breaching humpback whales ~100 yards from the boat.
  • Many whales surfaced close by, showing pec-slaps 20 yards from the boat! Very friendly whales today.
  • 2 sharks off New Brighton Beach — 5 foot and 8 foot long — drifting nearby the boat

White Shark while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

White shark 7-22-16 Michael Nelson

Thursday, July 21:

  • On Legacy:
  • 1 breaching humpback
  • White sharks
  • Several sea otters

On Velocity:

  • 2 Blue whales
  • Risso’s dolphins
  • 8 Humpback whales

Wednesday, July 20:

  • A colossal blue whale! ~90 feet long
  • Several humpback whales sprinkled around the bay
  • 7 white sharks – one was at least 9 feet long!
  • Small pod of foraging common dolphins
  • Lots of mola-mola (sunfish) and jellies

Sunday, July 17:

  • 5 blue whales
  • 60 humpbacks near Soquel Hole
  • Almost every type of surface behavior!

Friday, July 15:

  • Endless humpback whales
  • 2 Fin whales
  • 4 blue whales
  • Pod of common dolphins

Wednesday, July 13:

  • 8 humpback whales
  • 12 Risso’s dolphins
  • 20 bottlenose dolphins
  • Lots of white sharks at Aptos

Friday, July 8:

  • 1 Orca (killer whale)
  • 2 white sharks
  • 5 humpback whales
  • 200 common dolphins

This entry was posted on July 28, 2016 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


So many whales! Blues and Humpbacks

Sunday, July 17, 2016: 60 humpback whales and 5 blue whales out at Soquel Canyon, breaching, tail slaps, throws, every type of surface behavior!

Saturday, July 16: Beautiful whale watching day! At one point we could count 20 humpback whales feeding around our boat, Legacy, and 2 blue whales.

This entry was posted on July 18, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Orca, Dolphins, Humpback whales, sharks this week

Orcas while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Friday, July 8 Sightings: 1 ORCA, 2 WHITE SHARKS, 5 HUMPBACK WHALES, 200 COMMON DOLPHINS!

This entry was posted on July 9, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Fun week on Monterey Bay!

xxxxxxxxxxx while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Sunday 7/3 — 6 humpback whales at Soquel — a single whale we call “Barney” and friend lunge feeding off Aptos — White shark at cement ship.

Saturday 7/2 — 4 humpback whales — dolphins!

Friday 7/1 — Humpback whales feeding near Soquel

Thursday 6/30 — Sharks and Orcas

This entry was posted on July 4, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Fin whales, humpbacks, blues and Risso's dolphins

Humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Tues 6/21 30 Risso's dolphins, 100 common dolphins, 2 lunge-feeding humpback whales — Just 3 miles out!

Humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

6/16-20 FIN WHALES! + humpback whales, sharks at the cement ship

Humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Wed 6/15 Two humpback whales, tail throws (windy!)

Mon 6/13 The blue whales are back in the Santa Cruz side of the bay only 5 miles out from Natural Bridges

Humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Blue Whale

Sun 6/12 – 10 blue whales and this lovely Night Heron

Humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Night Heron at the Santa Cruz Harbor

This entry was posted on June 22, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Amazing encounters with orca and humpback whales

Orca while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Wednesday June 8 – Today we came across a frisky humpback who put on a show: breaching, chin slaps, tail slaps and feeding for over an hour. A great day on Monterey Bay! #WorldOceansDay

Monday, June 6 – Amazing encounters with orca and humpback whales! We came across 8 playful and friendly orcas who came right up to the boat. It seemed the older animals were training infant orcas to leap and lunge. The humpbacks were sleepy but showed some tail slapping/ curled fluke slapping, too.

This entry was posted on June 8, 2016 by jenny

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Orcas again this weekend!

June 6, 2016 Sightings Report for the weekend

Monday: 8 playful friendly Orcas today, out in the fog, plus 6 sleepy Humpback Whales.

Sunday: 10 Orcas — 6 of them swam under the boat! Plus a huge pod of Common Dolphins

Saturday: Humpback whales – lunge feeding

Friday: Humpback whales – breaching!

All our activity this weekend has been on Santa Cruz side of the bay near the Soquel Hole.

Orca while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

ORCA 6-5-16, photo: Jenn Yuhas

This entry was posted on June 6, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Special Sighting – Fin Whales

June 1, 2016 Yesterday Fin Whales 2 by 2 cruised by the boat! That’s a rare sighting this close in. We've seen countless feeding blue whales and endless flirty humpbacks all week; We've been watching the blues just 3-4 miles out from Santa Cruz!

Fin Whales while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Fin Whales 2 by 2 just a few miles out from Santa Cruz – photo Jenn Yuhas

We've noticed an unusual blue whale surface behavior: a sort of "charge" where they gain speed and blast across the water's surface. Join us this weekend to see the amazing wildlife of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary!

Both of our boats for Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

This entry was posted on June 1, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


20 Blue Whales Today

20 Blue Whales Today while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

May 30, 2016: We continue to delight seeing BLUE WHALES in great numbers for several weeks now. Today we counted about 20 blue whales, diving/feeding. Also several humpback whales, breaches, plus sea lions, sun-fish, jellies.

This entry was posted on May 30, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Blue whales are the stars this week

Blue Whales while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

We've had amazing BLUE WHALES in big numbers on all trips this week!

Wednesday, May 25 — Surrounded by BLUE WHALE spouts today- showing flukes today near Santa Cruz! Also, humpback whales in the bay! A few were tail-throwing and pec-slapping at the surface.

Sunday, May 22 –Many blue whales again. Wonderful sightings – they are quite actively diving to feed in the deep waters, giving as great flukes. Humpback whales also active in the bay.

Saturday, May 21 — 15 Blue Whales!! Diving; great looks at flukes. Plus otters, sea lions, migrating birds and dolphins!

Blue Whales while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Blue whale tail Monterey Bay, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Photo: Michael Nelson

Sightings while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Sightings while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Sightings while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Earlier in May we had a week with large groups of active Orcas, hunting in Monterey Bay. It is amazing to see these fantastic "killer whales" out in nature.

Sightings while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Monterey Bay Orcas Photo: Michael Nelson

Sightings while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Monterey Bay Orcas Photo: Michael Nelson

Sightings while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback whale pectoral fin

This entry was posted on May 26, 2016 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Chance to see up to 3 whale species!

3 whale species while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Sunday, May 1 Four humpback whales feeding on krill, lots of surface behavior, good looks at the whales! One gray whale.

Sat, April 30 This morning we got lucky with humpback whales near shore, just a few miles off of Santa Cruz, plus and mama & baby gray whales!

Over the last four weeks we've seen orca on 4-5 different occasions and blue whale three times! Also sharks, otters, sea lions, birds and all the natural beauty of Monterey Bay.

Here's a great article about our transient killer whales, their behavior and hunting patterns here in the bay: Gary Griggs, Our Ocean Backyard: Killers in Monterey Bay

Wild Orca while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Wild Orca, Monterey Bay – April 13, 2016. Photo: Michael Nelson

This entry was posted on May 2, 2016 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Blue whale near Santa Cruz, Dolphins, Sharks

Seals while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

4/27/16 sightings today — Humpback whales, a great look at a BLUE WHALE, and 200 common dolphins – the blue whale and dolphins were just 3 miles out from Santa Cruz!

Sunday 4/24 Humpback whales feeding on krill near the Soquel Canyon, and a pod of Risso’s Dolphins, plus otters!

Risso's Dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Risso’s Dolphins Monterey Bay 4-23-16 M. Nelson

Saturday 4/23 we had a friendly juvenile humpback whale investigate the boat, out near the Monterey Canyon, and spotted several other humpbacks in the area. Then we swung up the coast by the cement ship in hopes of seeing some sharks. Indeed, we spotted a great white shark scavenging a small gray whale carcass in shallow water off the beach. It was amazing to watch.

Humpbacks while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpbacks while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

This entry was posted on April 27, 2016 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


April 20: Gray whales and calves!

Wednesday Sightings: Today we spotted a large echelon of 7 gray whales along the Santa Cruz coastline; we were able to follow along their path up towards Long Marine Lab. There were at least 2 calves in the group, who were unusually curious, popping their heads above water. Neat interactions! Then we found a few groups of humpback whales near Santa Cruz — Beautiful calm day on the bay!

This entry was posted in Recent SIghtings on April 20, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Gorgeous blue whale, humpback whales, playful common dolphins

Blue Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

4/17/16: Sunday Sightings: 20 humpback whales spread out, feeding throughout the Bay, some fun surface behaviors including tail and pec slaps. On the way back in we were joined by a large pod of common dolphins, swimming along side the boat and riding surf!

Common Dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Common Dolphins, Monterey Bay, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching, April 17, 2016. photo” M. Nelson

Common Dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

4/16/16 Saturday Sightings: 6 humpback whales and one mighty blue whale!!

4/14/16 Thursday we were visited by a trio of humpback whales; they gave us super close-up looks, feeding on krill, and pec/tail-slapping. We saw a few albatross and lots of California sea otters in the kelp.

Tail Slap while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback "tail slap" Monterey Bay, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching, April 17, 2016. photo: M. Nelson

Over the last few weeks, we've had several days with amazing views of Orca in the wild. Here is some fantastic video from our April 3rd trip. ORCA VIDEO by Franzi Samanek

This entry was posted on April 20, 2016 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Killer Whales, Humpbacks on Wednesday

Killer Whales while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Thursday, April 14, 2016; Today we were visited by a trio of humpback whales, they gave us super close-up looks, feeding on krill. One was a tail-slapper, so we could observe good surface behavior. We saw a few albatross, and lots of otters in the kelp.

Birds while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Wednesday, April 13, Wow! Orcas! We got to watch 6 killer whales/ orca as they cruised around through Monterey Bay. We had a similar orca sighting on April 3, spotting 4-6 orca that day. We also saw about 10 humpback whales.

Killer Whales while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Orca in Monterey Bay, April 13, 2016, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching (photo M. Nelson)

Orca while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Orca in Monterey Bay, April 13, 2016, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching (photo M. Nelson)

Monday, April 11, we found humpback whales sprinkled across the bay, getting some good looks up close. The adventure ended with a humpback tail slapper, who did a big barrel roll with pec fin flourish!

Pec Slap while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

"Pec slap" Humpback whale, Monterey Bay, April 11, 2016. photo Michael Nelson

Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, April 2016

Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, April 2016

This entry was posted on April 14, 2016 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Gray whale breach!

Gray Whale Breach while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Archive photo, gray whale, Monterey Bay (Teddy Daligga)

Sightings report Tues 4/5: Four gray whales – good looks and a breach! common dolphins bow-riding and cute otters.

This entry was posted on April 5, 2016 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


New boat "Legacy" joins our fleet!

Legacy for Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

April 5, 2016 | Presenting.... "Legacy!"

Legacy for Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Legacy, new addition to Stagnaro Charter fleet out of Santa Cruz, CA

Stagnaro Charter Boats/ Santa Cruz Whale Watching is pleased to introduce a new addition to our fleet, joining Velocity at Dock F this season.

Our new boat Legacy is a 56' fiberglass Westport yacht, featuring a spacious deck and deluxe interiors plus comfortable galley, snack bar/beer/wine and restroom amenities. Legacy can accommodate up to 46 passengers for whale watching or scenic tour excursions.

With this gorgeous new addition to our fleet, we are excited to offer more opportunities for our neighbors and visitors alike to go whale watching, or for a relaxing cruise on Monterey Bay.

Naturalist for Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Captain Kenney Stagnaro and one of our favorite naturalists, Jennifer Yuhas, admiring the new boat!

Legacy for Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Legacy for Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Albatross, Gray and Humpback Whales

Albatross, Gray and Humpback Whales while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Saturday, April 2: Today the fog burned off early and we set off on board Velocity to see what wildlife we could find in Monterey Bay!

We saw:

  • Four gray whales – 2 pairs — near Santa Cruz
  • One Black-footed albatross (archive photo John Bruckman)
  • One humpback whale that was lunge feeding, showing lots of surface behavior: horizontal, vertical lunges and rolling around near to the boat.
  • One tiny sunfish (mola-mola), and many harbor porpoises and otters.
Albatross, Gray and Humpback Whales while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

ALBATROSS JUNE 2015 © john c. bruckman

This entry was posted on April 2, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Santa Cruz Harbor is Open

Light House while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

The Santa Cruz Harbor is open and whale watching trips are running daily for Spring Break!

Thursday 3/31— We saw a BLUE WHALE! Plus a gray whale close drive by – a couple of folks got "spouted" on!

Tuesday 3/29—2 humpback whales, spotted just about a mile out from Santa Cruz. One was playing in the kelp and came up out of the water with a comical seaweed wig! We also saw a gray whale, and 200 common dolphins, bow riding and doing flips

Sunday 3/27— 4 gray whales, common dolphins, otters

Saturday 3/26— 2 humpbacks, 4 gray whales, 40-50 common dolphins

Blue Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Blue Whale, Monterey Bay, June 2012. Photo: Gene Manako

Blue Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Blue Whale, Monterey Bay, June 2012. Photo: Gene Manako

This entry was posted on March 31, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Spring is Here

Sealions while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Spring is here and so are humpback whale arriving for their feeding season in Monterey Bay. Gray whales continue their northbound migration through our local waters, and dolphin & otter babies are learning to keep up with their folks. Here is what we've seen lately in Monterey Bay.

Humpback Fluke while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback fluke 3/23/16 Monterey Bay, March 2016

Wednesday 3/23/16 we saw Gray Whales, Humpback Whales, Dolphins (mamas and babies) and our favorite California Sea Otters!

Gray Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Gray whale, Spring migration, Monterey Bay, 3/23/16. photo Michael Nelson

3/20/16 For Sunday's trip, the best report came from one of our passengers, who wrote, "We had clear skies, a smooth trip, and good sightings. There was a small group of about 20 common dolphins porpoising. We then saw a yearling humpback surfacing then diving to feed near the canyon. Later, we came upon another young humpback."

Saturday 3/19 we saw 500 common dolphins, 3 humpback whales — close drive-bys, lots of flukes, plus otters!

And on Thursday 3/18 we saw otters, lots of dolphins and 6 humpback whales out in Monterey Bay. One of the whales was lunge feeding. Lovely!

Gray Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Common Dolphins, Monterey Bay, March 2016

Dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Monterey Bay, 3/23/16 photo Michael Nelson

This entry was posted on March 24, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Grays, Humpbacks, Common Dolphins

humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Monday 2/29/16 We saw 2 gray whales, 1 humpback whale, 20-40 common dolphins; a beautiful day!

Santa Cruz Whale Watching offers Whale Watching on Monterey Bay March, April, and year-round. Our tours (3.5-4 hours) are fully narrated by our captain along with an on-board naturalist. Marine wildlife can be observed in Monterey Bay year-round. In late winter/spring we see the northbound migration of gray whales, traveling from Baja to Alaska, which often includes sightings of mothers with newborn calves. It is also possible to see humpback whales arriving for their summer feeding season in Monterey Bay.

This entry was posted on March 1, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Gray Whales, 1000 Dolphins

1000 Dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Sunday 2/21/16 Whale Watching on board Velocity, Monterey Bay:

  • 2 gray whales – good looks
  • 1 humpback whale – good activity and one breach!
  • 1000 common dolphins – the dolphins were with us the entire trip, in groups small and large, spread out for miles!

his entry was posted on February 25, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Gray Whale Migration

Gray Whales migrating while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

1/18/16 There are lots of gray whales migrating southbound along the Monterey Bay shoreline. Over the last week, large pods of dolphins and Orcas (killer whales) were also spotted in the bay. This is a good time for to see ocean birds, too, such as albatross, shearwaters, cormorants, brandts, loons and more!

Winter until the spring is Gray Whale season in Monterey Bay. The chance of sighting California Gray Whales cross Monterey Bay during this period is around 90% as they migrate from cold arctic waters to the warm Baja Peninsula.

Gray Whales migrating while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

20,000 California gray whales make their annual migration from Alaska to Baja California each winter

Gray Whales migrating while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Gray Whales migrating while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Gray Whale, Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz. Photo: Teddy Daligga. January 15, 2012 (Stagnaro archive)

his entry was posted on January 19, 2016 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


2015 Sightings

Lunge feeding whales, leaping dolphins

Great trips over the Thanksgiving Weekend

Saturday 11/28 We found a trio of humpback whales as they fed offshore near Moss Landing. We had nice close up looks at tails and blow holes. One curious calf passed very close to the boat! Everyone got a great look at his entire "little" – 20 foot long – body.

Friday 11/27 Lots of lunge feeding activity off of Wilder Ranch, a few miles offshore. Spotted ~ 7 humpback whales, plus a few hundred common dolphins doing their usual leaping and bow riding! The dolphins were also fairly close to the Santa Cruz shore. We saw sea lions, sea otters and some of the humpback whales swam nearby to the boat.

Lunge Feeding while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

11-28-15 Humpback whales lunge feeding, Monterey Bay. Photo Karen Ewart

Watch Video: What a wonderful whale watching moment from August 2015. Rick Wood, Thanks for posting the video and for your Yelp review! Humpback breaches close to Santa Cruz Whale Watching tour boat.

Common Dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Common Dolphins can be observed in very large groups and are generally found in warmer waters. They are found worldwide.

The Short-beaked Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis) is a species of Common Dolphin. It has a larger range than the Long-beaked Common Dolphin (D. capensis), occurring throughout warm-temperate and tropical oceans, with the possible exception of the Indian Ocean. There are more Short-beaked Common Dolphins than any other dolphin species in the warm-temperate portions of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The color pattern on the body is unusual. The back is dark and the belly is white, while on each side is an hourglass pattern colored light grey, yellow or gold in front and dirty grey in back.

Monterey whale watching is full of amazing delights! No two trips are the same. Whale watching on Monterey Bay trips depart out of the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor every weekend, year round. Winter whale watching we have some humpbacks might remain in the bay over winter. We are soon looking to see gray whales on migration from Alaska to Baja California.

This entry was posted on November 30, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


This Friday #OptOutside with Whale Watching

Dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

In the spirit of the #‎OptOutside‬ campaign to get out in Nature instead of shopping, we invite you to join us whale watching on Friday, Nov 27. Forget the mall; enjoy the beautiful Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary!

Tuesday 11/24 Today another good show – We saw humpback whales and dolphins both – Singing in the rain!

November 20-22: On all recent trips we've had scattered humpback whales not too far out of Santa Cruz. Whales are feeding and showing off a few good breaches, pec slapping. On Friday a nursery pod of common dolphins, bow riding, breaching, chirping. Sea otters lounging in the kelp.

Happy Thanksgiving while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Orca Video Goes Viral!

We got picked up on TV’s Right This Minute! Crew member Damian Alcarez' video is certainly compelling. Wild free killer whales healthy living in Monterey Bay.

This entry was posted on November 24, 2015 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


November Whale Watching Monterey

Happy Thanksgiving while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Last trip was Saturday, Nov 14 – Another great outing on Monterey Bay, and we didn’t have to travel far for wildlife action. We saw 8 humpback whales within 3 miles of Santa Cruz, feeding, and tail throwing. Then we saw 300 common dolphins out near the Soquel Canyon, bow riding and jumping. Great trip!

Feeding Humpbacks while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Feeding Humpbacks, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching. Photo: Nancy Costa

Join us this weekend! CALL (831) 427-0230

Friday, Nov 20 at 11:00 AM

Saturday, Nov 21 at 12:00 PM

Sunday Nov 22 at 12:00 PM

Next Week Holiday Schedule: Tues 11/24 at 10:00 AM, Wed 11/25 at 11:00 AM, Thanksgiving Day 11/26 at 9:30 AM and Friday 11/27 at 12:00 PM

Velocity FULL while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Velocity, Star of Stagnaro Charter Boats on Monterey Bay

This entry was posted on November 18, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Video captures Monterey Bay wild Orcas visit with whale watching boat

Orca while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Here it is! We had an amazing interaction with orcas on Thursday, 11/12/15. An adult along with a juvenile orca, or killer whale, came right up the the whale watching boat Velocity to give us a little spray. Crew member Damian’s footage captures it all!

Video no longer available.

Orca, or Killer Whales, can be seen at any time but are unpredictable. They are however most common during April, May, and June as they predate on northbound migrating Gray Whales, usually mother and newborn calves. Killer Whales are found worldwide. Most Orca seen in Monterey Bay are the “Transient” type somewhat nomadic, feeding on marine mammals.

This entry was posted on November 18, 2015 by jenny

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Orcas Active in Monterey Bay

Orcas while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Thursday, Nov 12 — Today was the ultimate whale watching adventure on Monterey Bay, with humpback whales, dolphins, and orcas! We enjoyed crisp, clear conditions, sunny skies, and…

10 Humpback Whales — A few miles outside the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor we found a pod of feeding humpback whales, including one surface lunge.

100s of Dolphins — We went a little further, and found a pod of 400-500 common dolphins. The dolphins were frolicking, breaching, and chirping to each other.

Killer Whales/Orcas — Even further out we found a pod of at least 8 orcas, which had recently made a kill, and were teasing two very distressed humpbacks while doing tail slaps and drive-bys of the boat. Some passengers got misted by orca breath!

Common Dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Common Dolphins Photo: Michael Nelson

Amazing Monterey whale watching! Whale watching Monterey trips depart out of Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor at the north tip of Monterey Bay. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is vibrant with healthy wildlife: humpback whales, orca killer whales, dolphins, sea lions, birds, jellies, otters and the beautiful view of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

This entry was posted on November 14, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Humpbacks near Santa Cruz, Baby Dolphins

11/11 Wednesday: 10 humpback whales today, some friendly whales approached nearby the boat for great looks. The whales were a bit closer in to Santa Cruz, about 5 miles offshore. During the later part of the trip we found 3-4 humpbacks lunge feeding near Santa Cruz. Also saw about 100 common dolphins – many young ones tagging along with mama dolphins!

Humpbacks still here! Lots of great whale watching in Monterey Bay!

This entry was posted on November 11, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Monterey Bay Whale Watching | Amazing Wildlife

Sunday 11/8/15: 8 humpback whales, including one frisky breacher! 1000 common dolphins!

Saturday 11/7/15: Orcas! Surface feeding humpback whales, 100s of dolphins near the boat. Monterey Bay amazing wildlife rain and shine.

Wildlife while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

This entry was posted on November 9, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Humpback Whales, Bottlenose Dolphins

10-29-15: Thursday – We spotted nine humpback whales feeding in Monterey Bay offshore from the Pajaro River mouth, showing tail throw surface behaviors. Monterey whale sightings included a mother humpback whale and her calf. Heading home we found a pair of bottlenose dolphins near Pleasure Point, we got a good look at them frolicking in Monterey Bay!

Humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback whale mid-tail throw, Monterey Bay with Santa Cruz Whale Watching

This entry was posted on October 30, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


This week Orcas, whales and dolphins

Orcas while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

10-27-15: Tuesday – Today we found quite a few humpback whales, with several “drive-bys” close to the boat for amazing looks.

10-24-15: Saturday we saw a FIN WHALE, 100s of common dolphins, many humpback whales in middle of Monterey Bay.

10-23-15: Friday we had a special treat – came across 4 ORCAS! We were able to watch them for about 10-15 minutes. Plus 10 humpback whales – even a few breaches!

Breaching while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Breaching whale, Monterey Bay. Photo: Gabe Torres

Orca while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Orca, Monterey Bay 10-23-15 Photo: Michael Nelson

10-21-15: Wednesday’s whale watching trip we had 100’s of common dolphins, plus a friendly curious humpback whale that spent a long time near to the boat for wonderful wildlife viewing. Humpbacks were spotted near Santa Cruz, too – offshore from 26th Ave and another whale about a mile offshore from Lighthouse Point.

This entry was posted on October 27, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Monterey whale watching continues

Whales while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Wednesday 9/30/15 Great trip! About 10-20 humpback whales on our Monterey whale watching trip…Big open lunge feeding near the boat.

Humpback Lunge Feeding while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback whales lunge feeding, Monterey Bay, September 30, 2015 with Santa Cruz Whale Watching. Photo Credit: Michael Nelson

Friday 10/2/15 Many whales! We had some close "horizontal" lunge feeding about 20 yards from the boat, the humpback whale showed its pectoral fin then lunged sideways in a way we were able to see its eye! Later we had about 20 whales surface lunge feeding at the same time, and numerous common dolphins.

Whales while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

How many whales can you count? Photo Michael Nelson

Saturday 10/3/15 More fabulous views of humpback whales in Monterey Bay! Close breaches! Close-by pec slaps and tail slaps.

This entry was posted on October 4, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


September Highlights Orcas, Whales, Dolphins

Orcas while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

What an amazing month for whale watching in Monterey Bay! Plenty of humpback whales, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and a special day with Orcas! Plus a pair-trio of humpbacks took up residence very near shore in Santa Cruz, feeding on schools of anchovies near West Cliff Drive for over a week. Here are some highlights from September.

9-25-15: Yesterday whale watching we saw humpbacks everywhere we looked! At least 30 whales!

9-21-15: Bottlenose Dolphins in the harbor. Hundreds of Common Dolphins, bow riding, riding the wake. Many groups of multiple Humpbacks feeding, feeding, feeding. Partial lunge feed. WOW!

Dolphins & Whale Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Santa Cruz Whale Watching 9-21-15 M.Reynolds

Dolphins & Whale Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Dolphins & Whale Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Dolphins & Whale Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

9-16-15: One of September's most memorable trips! We had a group of 7 orca near the boat! Epic show today! 7 orcas by the boat; orcas were picking on a humpback whale and on a shark, and we got to see an orca breach! Countless lunge feeding humpback whales. Common dolphins and sunfish, too!

Orca while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Wild and free Orca! 9-16-15, Monterey Bay. Photo Nico Ientile

The whales at West Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz were amazing while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay with Stagnaro Charters

VIDEO by RitaZero

This entry was posted on September 26, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Humpbacks and Orca thrill on Monterey Bay

Humpbacks & Orca thrill on Monterey Bay while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

It’s been an active week on Monterey Bay with large groups of humpback whales lunge feeding on schools of anchovies, along with common dolphins, sea lions, birds, and a special encounter with orca! Here’s a recap of this week’s sightings with Santa Cruz Whale Watching tours.

Tuesday, Aug 25

Groups of 8-10 humpback whales lunge feeding repeatedly for over 2 hours! We had a pod of common dolphins mixed in with the whales. The dolphins were swimming with the boat alongside sea lions, and many feeding birds. One of the humpback whales was rolling around in the bait ball, showing off belly and ventral pleats—creases that run vertically down the underside of a whale’s jaw all the way to its stomach. When feeding, the ventral pleats expand like an accordion to accommodate a huge amount of food-rich water.

Thursday, Aug 27

We found a group of 3-4 humpback whales that were particularly friendly among more whales spread out across the bay. These animals were “lazy” feeding at the surface – one would just poke his snout out with a mouthful of anchovies, then slowing descend back down… We had more common dolphins that stayed with the boat all day! As we were starting to head back to Santa Cruz Harbor, we were intercepted by a single humpback whale doing tail throws and then several minutes of tail slaps!

Friday, Aug 28

Oh boy! On Friday there were more humpbacks sighted, “lazy” feeding on the abundant anchovies as before, but today’s whale watchers had a special treat with a group of four Orcas! There were two males accompanying a mother/calf pair. The orcas even spent a few minutes near to the boat, swimming under the boat in clear conditions – you could see them under the water! One passenger reported feeling the spray from their blowhole!

Orca on Monterey Bay while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Orca Monterey Bay 8-28-15 | Photo: Michael Nelson

Orca on Monterey Bay while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Orca on Monterey Bay while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Orca on Monterey Bay while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Orca photos courtesy Michael B. Nelson

Don’t Miss the new PBS special “BIG BLUE LIVE” airing Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday on your local PBS station. It’s all about the amazing wildlife and ecosystems of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary that we get to enjoy every day! Tune in then come out with us on our beautiful boat Velocity!

Velocity on Monterey Bay while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback whale visits passengers on board Velocity, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching

This entry was posted on August 30, 2015 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


The whales of August Monterey style

Whales while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Monterey Bay Whales have been seen from shore near Santa Cruz since the first week of August. Humpback whales and small groups of dolphins have been spotted out in front of Seabright Beach and also along West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz. A couple of dolphins even got to frolicking inside the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor for a few days!

The real action is out on the Monterey Bay! Join us on board Velocity for a whale watching trip — week days and weekends out of the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor. BUY TICKETS

Here's an update of what we've been seeing this week out in the Monterey Bay.

Over last weekend, Aug 8-9 we saw numerous humpback whales feeding over the canyons nearby Moss Landing – 8 animals surfacing, one calf! And a few pec slaps. Also Friday, 150 or so common dolphins were swimming with the boat, playing alongside the boat, breaching and bow riding.

Whales while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Dolphins Monterey Bay Santa Cruz Whale Watching 8-7-15 Megan Peterson

Monday and Tuesday, August 10-11 we had large groups of humpback whales feeding over the Monterey Canyon. Instead of krill this day they were chasing huge schools of anchovies, right under boat (the water very clear! – We could see them swimming several feet down!) The whales displayed lots of great fluke ups, one energetic breach on Tuesday, many tail throws, some tail slaps. We saw many common dolphins both days. The dolphins were breaching high out of the water and bow riding. Seabirds including a jaeger and albatross. We also saw the same little humpback calf swimming around; yesterday he followed us and swam under boat!

August 12 – Wednesday we had calm waters, got to see 20+ humpback whales feeding with sea lions…and hundreds of common dolphins.

And today, Friday 8/14 we saw whales! Lots of humpback whales feeding over Monterey Canyon… However the wind came up pretty fast & furious and we had to move out of the area.

Thriving sea life abounds in Monterey Bay!

This entry was posted on August 14, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Entertaining humpback whales over Monterey Canyon

Humpbacks while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

We've found some very entertaining humpback whales over Monterey Canyon this week on Velocity whale watching trips:

  • Wednesday 7/22: We found 4 humpback whales over the Monterey Canyon, and another individual near to Santa Cruz.
  • Thursday 7/23: We found 3 humpback whales. One little guy was tail throwing right next to the boat—you could almost touch it!
  • Friday 7/24: We patiently searched for a while before finding a very active humpback whale over Monterey Canyon. He was shy at first, but then put on quite the performance with several tail throws, and then wowed us with three full body breaches! We also saw California sea lions, sunfish, and a variety of seabirds.
  • Next trips: Saturday (8am and 12pm), and Sunday, Monday & Wednesday at 12pm. Call 831-427-0230 to reserve your tickets!
Mola Mola while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Mola Mola, or sunfish spotted from Sea Stag Six on Sunday, July 19. Photo: Megan Peterson

Thursday 7/16: We found 10-12 humpback whales about 8 miles out; it was a long drive out there, but our first glimpse was a double breach! Throughout Most were diving for food, giving us some lovely looks at tail flukes, near and far. Also "logging," which is a whale just relaxing at the water's surface. And some splashy tail throws! We also saw Dall's porpoises – they are so fast! Otters loose from the kelp, sea lions frolicking way out over the Monterey canyon. More humpback whales appeared near to Santa Cruz on our way back to port. Jellyfish dotted the water as the sun was breaking through the morning fog. Great trip!

Tuesday 7/14: We found three humpbacks, lots of flukes! We counted 12 bottlenose dolphins near the Cement Ship at Seacliff State Beach, cruising along with boat. We saw eight Great white sharks, two of which were alongside the boat for several minutes!

Video Great White Sharks with Santa Cruz Whale Watching 7-14-15 M.Peterson

Saturday 7/11: We saw four Humpback whales –one got kind of friendly, approaching the boat for some up-close looks. The highlight of the day was seeing a blue whale! We also got to watch two dozen Pacific white side dolphins out in the Monterey Bay.

Blue Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Blue Whale, Monterey Bay, June 2012. Photo:GManako

This entry was posted on July 24, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Santa Cruz has whales, dolphins and sharks

Santa Cruz Dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

July 7, 2015: Tuesday we had another neat encounter with 20 Risso's dolphins. The dolphins were in echelon swimming formation- which is all in a row ahead of the boat. We also had fun alongside 6 pacific white sided dolphins bow-riding with the Velocity. In the middle of the bay, near Monterey Canyon we found several humpback whales feeding, some surfacing close to the boat. And one of our favorite pelagic birds: 2 black-footed albatross!

Risso's Dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Risso’s Dolphins near Santa Cruz CA. Photo: Michael Nelson

July 6, 2015: On Monday we barely made it out of the harbor before spotting a pair of whales breaching repeatedly, maybe a mile or 2 off shore. As we got closer, we discovered that this was a mom and calf frolicking in the sunshine! They displayed pectoral fin slaps, tail throws, tail slaps, chin slaps, and some breaches as well! Later, a third whale joined the party. On the way home, we spotted a few otters wrapped up in the kelp, aerating their fur with their paws. Great day!

Otters while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Otters in the Kelp near Santa Cruz, CA Photo: Jim Goff

July 5, 2015: Balmy conditions, good visibility through to the sea floor near Santa Cruz. Just east of the Soquel Canyon we found a pod of 12 Risso's dolphins; we could see them under the water, down about 20 feet. Risso's are not usually very playful but this day they were leaping or "porpoising," spy-hopping and acting quite animated for us to see.

We did not have to travel much farther for some beautiful views of humpback whales. We started to see several small groups of 2-3 animals about the middle of Soquel Canyon hear Santa Cruz. We saw breaching, pec slaps, fin slaps, and a few whales swam up to and around the boat. Later we saw a half-dozen harbor porpoises and a raft of about 20 otters in the kelp near Santa Cruz. To top it off there were harbor seals on the docks, soaking up the sun in the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor.

Albatross while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Albatross, Monterey Bay, CA. Photo © john c. bruckman

On our weekend trips we've been visiting South Santa Cruz County near Seacliff State Beach to catch glimpses of the juvenile great white sharks that are spending some time in the area.

Great White Shark while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Great white sharks visit Santa Cruz County on the Monterey Bay, June/July 2015. Photos: Azure Cohen

Great White Shark while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Great White Shark while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

We're also very pleased to report that our local heroes – the Whale Entanglement Team (or WET) successfully freed a humpback whale caught up in fishing line this week. Go Team!

This entry was posted on July 8, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


It’s Shark Week in Monterey Bay

Sharks while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Catching up on recent sightings from this week: MONDAY 6/29: 8 humpback whales, with several close drive-bys, flukes. 15 Risso’s Dolphin, close good looks with mother/calf pairs. TUESDAY 6/30: 2 humpbacks, tail throws, peck slapping, and 4 white sharks–one was 10 feet long, right under the boat for two minutes. Wednesday – Friday we checked out more sharks near Santa Cruz, and we continue to see humpback whales feeding and showing beautiful surface behaviors! We had a particularly friendly animal at the bow of the boat on Thursday, what a majestic sight! Join us this summer!

Humpbacks while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

July 3 morning trip Humpback Whales | Photo: Michal Nelson

Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Morning Trip July 3, 2015. photo Michael Nelson

Humpback Fluke while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback Fluke, June 27, 2015 with Santa Cruz Whale Watching | Photo: Jim Goff

Otters while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Otters in the Monterey Bay kelp beds. Photo: Jim Goff

Whale Spout while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Whale spout, June 27, 2015. Photo: Jim Goff

Shark while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Shark Week in Santa Cruz! Photo: Azure Cohen

This entry was posted on July 3, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Whales, Orca, Sea Turtles, Sharks

Whale Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Yesterday we saw 5 humpback whales feeding out near Moss Landing, plus a big Male Orca, we got to watch him for about an hour! We also got a glimpse of Leatherback sea turtles and and there were Great White Sharks spotted near Seacliff Beach near Aptos. Today 2 particularly lively humpback whales breaching and tail slapping, showing all how to enjoy Monterey Bay!

This entry was posted in Recent SIghtings and tagged humpback whales, whale watching monterey on June 26, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Monterey Bay humpbacks here for summer

Monterey Bay Humpbacks while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

June 24, 2015: Happy Summer! This weekend marked the official start of summer and our humpback whale feeding season here in Monterey Bay! Father's Day Sunday we had an awesome whale watching trip: We saw 25 humpback whales throughout the trip. The animals were swimming together in groups of 8 or so, doing close drive-bys. And we had a pair of full-grown whales breaching in tandem right near the boat, out in the center of Monterey Bay.

June Humpbacks while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

June Humpbacks. Photo: G. Manako

Monday and Tuesday both were successful sightings of about 10 humpback whales out near Moss Landing, and 2 more near shore off of Capitola. A few curious whales swam near the boat allowing our passengers to enjoy great detailed looks. On Tuesday also saw the mighty Mola Mola (or sunfish) which looked to be at least 1000 pounds!

Mola Mola or Sunfish while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

For more recent sightings updates and photos visit our Facebook Page for more photos and regular notice of upcoming trips.

This entry was posted on June 24, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


World Oceans Day with humpback whales

Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

What a treat to spend World Ocean Day seeing humpback whales in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary! Sunny skies and calm ocean conditions added to the beauty of it all. We saw multiple humpback whales doing all types of surface behavior!

Tail Slaps while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback whales – tail slaps – Monterey Bay, CA with Santa Cruz Whale Watching (Azure Cohen)

This entry was posted on June 8, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


A Day with Orcas in Monterey Bay

Orcas while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Sunday, June 1, 2015: The absolute highlight of the weekend was Orca! Sunday we got really lucky and saw Orca! They were a frisky bunch, showing off incredible breaching, tail throwing, and close drive-bys for over an hour! We also witnessed sea lion kill. In total we saw 6 killer whales: 1 male, 3 females, 2 calves all out above Soquel Canyon about 5 miles off shore from Santa Cruz.

Orcas & Humpbacks while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Orcas & Humpbacks while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Orcas & Humpbacks while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

5-31-15 Orca photos: Azure Cohen

Tuesday, June 2, 2015: We found a pair of humpback whales that were quite the crowd pleasers! Multiple breaches, tail lobs, tail throws, pec slaps! Meanwhile a pod of common dolphins crossed paths with us and swam with the boat, bow riding and shooting straight up out of the water! Last but not least, a solo humpback whale right off Rio Del Mar was feeding in the shallows, and demonstrated surface lunge feeding. Great day for humpbacks!

This entry was posted on June 3, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Memorial Day on Monterey Bay

MEMORIAL DAY! Monday, May 25, 2015: Today we saw 25 plus humpback whales out on Monterey Bay. There were many close “drive-bys” and close-up pec slapping behaviors, and a couple of tail throws! What a splash! We saw whales all along the way to the middle of Monterey Bay; several small groups of feeding humpback whales coming and going. We had good weather this trip!

This entry was posted on May 25, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Friendly humpback whales this weekend

Humpbacks while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Saturday, May 16, 2105: We counted 12 humpback whales out in the center of Monterey Bay. Four very friendly humpback whales stayed with the boat for a half-hour! These friendly whales were spy-hopping, pec-slapping, breaching and spinning near the boat, and looking up "people watching." Everyone got sprayed by their spout!

Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

photo: Michael Nelson

Sunday, May 17, 2015: There were 15 humpback whales on Sunday, and what a show! We got to see all types of whale surface behavior on display, including tandem breaches! Tandem tail lobbing! One whale approached the boat to look up at the people, another friendly encounter.

Join us this week and Memorial Day Weekend! Three-four hour tour departs from the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor at the north end of Monterey Bay.

  • Wednesday, May 20 at 11:00 AM
  • Friday, May 22 at 12:00 PM
  • Saturday, May 23 at 12:00 PM
  • Sunday, May 24 at 12:00 PM
  • Monday, May 25 at 12:00 PM

Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Photo: Michael Nelson

This entry was posted on May 18, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Yes we have been seeing whales, whale, whales!

Yes we have been seeing whales, whale, whales!

Last Wed 5/6 we saw 2 pairs of mother & calf gray whales. We also saw many sea lions and a sea otter mom & baby.

Fri 5/8 we were on an inner bay cruise close to shore and saw a humpback whale,

Sat 5/9 we saw about 20 Orcas!!! They were coming up to the boat and passing underneath. They also were riding the wake and bow riding. There were also a few humpback trying to get in on the fun.

Sunday May 10th we saw Humpback just a few miles out. They did multiple breaches and behaviors.

Sea Lions on every trip and Sea birds, Albatross! We also have heard from many people seeing Gray Whales and Humpbacks from West Cliff & SeaCliff Beach/Cement Ship. Our next trips are Wed 5/13, Fri 5/15, Sat 5/16 & Sun 5/17.

This entry was posted on May 13, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Blue whales again over the weekend

Earth Day while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Sunday, April 19: We saw large groups of 6+ BLUE WHALES mixing and mingling with HUMPBACK whales. There is plenty of krill for the whales to eat out at the canyons!

Springtime in Monterey Bay also brings us humpback whales, orca, 5 species of dolphins, seals and sea lions, otters, plus countless migrating and pelagic birds. Our next trips are Friday 4/24 at 12:00 pm & Saturday 4/25 at 10:00 am. More trips available most weekends and selected weekdays.

Blue Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Blue Whale, Monterey Bay, Photo: Gene Manako

The Blue Whale is the largest animal to ever inhabit the earth including the dinosaurs. In the early days blues reached 125' in length and 150 tons. Today they rarely exceed 90'. They are found in all oceans but are endangered, approximately 10,000 worldwide. Their distinctive high spout can reach over 25' and be spotted many miles away. Blue whales can usually be found in the bay in the spring and summer when they feed on krill (small shrimp like crustaceans).

Blue Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Blue Whale, Monterey Bay, Photo: Gene Manako

This spring Santa Cruz Whale Watching trips have been amazing! In April alone we’ve seen countless dolphins (several species!), humpback whales, blue whales, gray whales and orca on the hunt. We offer a convenient departure point at the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor, our large & comfortable yacht powered by brand new eco-friendly engines, and our friendly and informative crew to make your Monterey Bay tour an unforgettable experience. Join us! BUY TICKETS

Velocity Full and a Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Velocity, Stagnaro Charter Boats on Monterey Bay

"The ocean comes alive when you get out onto the water," says Ken Stagnaro. Here's a great article that came out in the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday "Santa Cruz" special travel section.

And interesting, exciting news to share on Earth Day: Humpback whale on it’s way to being removed from the endangered species list!

Humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback whale, Monterey Bay, Photo: Albert Djikstra

This entry was posted on April 22, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Orcas and Blue Whales

Orcas while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

ORCAS Thursday 4/16 – It was nature in action as we witnessed a pack of four orca hunt and ultimately kill a seal for their food. We also saw three (!) blue whales, with huge blows and tail-slapping behaviors. See VIDEO on our Facebook page.

Orcas while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Orcas, Monterey Bay with Santa Cruz Whale Watching. March 2013. Photo: Carol Harmon

This entry was posted on April 17, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Whales, Dolphins, Beautiful Monterey Bay!

Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Here are the latest sightings on Monterey Bay: On Tuesday April 14 we saw one dozen humpback whales! The whales gave us some good drive-bys for close looks at these amazing animals! Whales were spotted in the center of the Bay near Monterey Canyon, about 5 miles offshore from Santa Cruz. There were at least 200 sea lions and 200 short-beaked common dolphins near Capitola, about 6 miles out.

There are at least 5 species of dolphins and porpoises seen throughout the year in Monterey Bay. The short-beaked common dolphin is a species of Common Dolphin. The color pattern on the body is unusual. The back is dark and the belly is white, while on each side is an hourglass pattern colored light grey, yellow or gold in front and dirty grey in back.

We are also enjoying the seasonal appearance of the Velella, a relative of jellyfish. These bright blue, "sailed" creatures blow along the ocean surface and onto our local beaches.

Humpback whales are abundant this season in Monterey Bay! They are arriving early for their annual feeding season. Since April 1 we've also spotted blue whales, Orca, and gray whales completing their annual migration. Join us on a whale watching trip on board Velocity! Our whale watching trips depart out of Santa Cruz at the north end of Monterey Bay. BUY TICKETS

Humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Tails while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Birds while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Common Short Beaked Dolphin, sea birds near Capitola on Monterey Bay, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching. Photo: Michael Nelson

This entry was posted on April 15, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


First Blue Whale of the Season

First Blue Whale of the Season while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

First Blue Whale of the Season

Sightings Report for Wednesday, April 8, 2015: One BLUE WHALE, 8 HUMPBACK WHALES – 2 of which showed us all their tricks – and 200+ COMMON DOLPHINS!

Next whale watching trips are Thursday 4/9 at 10:30 AM, Sunday, 4/12 at noon. Call (831) 427-0230

Now's your chance to see blue whales, humpback whales, gray whales, dolphins and possible orcas! All have been sighted in Monterey Bay this week.

Blue Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Blue Whale, Monterey, June 2012. Photo: GManako

Blue Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Blue Whale, Monterey, June 2012. Photo: GManako

This entry was posted on April 8, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Whales and Dolphins on Monday

Whales and Dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Monday, March 30, 2015: Wonderful sights of humpback whales in Monterey Bay! On today’s Monterey whale watching trip we saw eight humpback whales.Several whales were feeding and surfacing near the boat. At one point one animal showed us a spectacular tail throw! The humpback whales were spotted in Monterey Bay North near Santa Cruz. Then we had dolphins! A pod of about 200 common dolphins were swimming, leaping, and bow riding with the boat.

Gray whales will continue their migration through the Spring season, crossing Monterey Bay on their northbound trip back from Baja to Alaska feeding grounds.We'll be out looking to spot grays on whale watching trips all week. Whale Watching out of Santa Cruz Harbor run daily through Friday, April 3 – Get your tickets now: BUY TICKETS.

Our 60-foot eco-powered touring boat, Velocity, accommodates up to 65 passengers comfortably. Our galley snack bar serves grilled burgers, snacks, coffee and cold drinks. See the Monterey Bay on Velocity!

Velocity Full while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

PHoto: DJ Nordland | Velocity – Stagnaro Charter Boats

This entry was posted on March 31, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Whales and Dolphins Monterey Bay

Breached while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Saturday, March 21, 2015: Breaching humpback whales! We saw a total of 8 humpbacks across Monterey Bay and near Santa Cruz, plus a small group of common dolphins.

Sunday, March 22, 2015: Counted 12 humpback whales doing every kind of behavior, and 200 common dolphins out in Monterey Bay.

Monday, March 23, 2015: Five gray whales feeding – a rare sight! The gray whales took a migration break to feed in about 35 feet of water just off Santa Cruz, on the north side of Monterey Bay. Also had some close “drive-bys” from the gray whales today. We saw 200 common dolphins – the dolphins were breaching and bow-riding and having a great time!

Humpback Breached while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback Breached while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback Breached while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

3-20-15 Humpback whale breach sequence, Monterey Bay with Santa Cruz Whale Watching. Photo Courtesy: Geoff & Tommy Mitchell

Gray Whale northbound migration in full swing now through April, early May! Read 5 Fun Facts about Gray Whales.

Join us for year-round marine wildlife adventure! Next Monterey whale watching trips are Wednesday and Friday this week, and daily whale watching next week for Spring Break starting March 28- April 3.

Commitment to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Our main tour boat Velocity is now powered by brand new engines that meet the latest EPA standards in clean burning, fuel saving marine motors. These engines are quiet, no gassy smell, and fast!

See the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary with Santa Cruz Whale Watching!

This entry was posted on March 23, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Migrating Gray Whales Put on a Show

Migrating Gray Whales Put on a Show while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Tuesday, March 17: For St Patrick's Day we had really exciting showings from five gray whales migrating across Monterey Bay. We were able to observe a group of three gray whales for 45 minutes up the coast. The whales were exhibiting lots of behaviors we don’t always get to see from grays: chin slapping, spy-hops, a great show from gray whales. Then we saw two more gray whales breaching out of the water about 3 miles off the Santa Cruz coastline. We also had a super fun pod of long beaked common dolphins riding alongside the boat!

Long beaked common dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Long beaked common dolphins. Monterey Bay, with Santa Cruz Whale Watching. Photo: Michael Nelson

Twice every year over 20,000 gray whales pass through Monterey Bay waters off of Santa Cruz. The first time occurs from December through mid February when they are migrating south from the cold arctic waters of the Bering Sea to their winter calving grounds off of the Baja Peninsula. Then north again to their summer feeding grounds in the Bering Sea of Alaska. Northbound whales are usually traveling across Monterey Bay from mid February through April.

This 10,000+ mile round-trip is one of the longest migrations of any animal known. Peak northbound migration is around mid March. The gray whale can reach 45' long. Females are usually larger than males. During their migration they are constantly traveling at 2-4 miles per hour. This can make for ideal viewing. Gray whales will sound (dive) for 2-5 minutes, sometimes longer. Their northern migration tends to be more social and leisurely. At times they can be spotted mating, breaching and "spy-hopping".

Join us for year-round marine wildlife adventure! Next whale watching trips are Friday, March 20 at 11:00 AM, Saturday, March 21 at 12:00 PM and Sunday the 22nd at 10:00 AM. Spring Break Trips on offer, too! Whale watching trips run Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week.

See the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary with Santa Cruz Whale Watching!

Commitment to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Our main tour boat Velocity is now powered by brand new engines that meet the latest EPA standards in clean burning, fuel saving marine motors. These engines are quiet, no gassy smell, and fast!

Velocity Full while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

This entry was posted on March 18, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Amazing! Breaching humpback and gray whales

Amazing! Breaching humpback and gray whales while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Friday, March 13: Breaching humpback whales! Friday we saw ten humpback whales displaying epic surface behaviors – breaching, tail throwing, and pec-slapping right next to the boat. The action took place near Soquel Canyon on the Santa Cruz side of Monterey Bay. Pleasant ocean conditions!

Humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Photo: Michael Nelson

Saturday, March 14: Whale watchers amazed by 45 minutes of breaches from a single humpback whale, followed by a pair of humpbacks feeding and diving. We also saw a pair of gray whales apparently mating, and a single "wheelie-popping" gray whale also breached!

Whales you can see while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Typical whale surface behaviors.

Posted March 15, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Great whale watching this week!

Whales while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Friday, March 6— We saw at least 8 humpback whales and 100 common dolphins.

Common Dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Common Dolphins, Monterey Bay, March 2015. Photo: Michael Nelson

Saturday, March 7 — Great looks near and far of 8-10 humpback whales and amazing surface behavior: breaching, tail flips, pec-slapping! Plus 20-30 common dolphins bow riding alongside the boat.

Whales while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Whale Watching Monterey 3/7/15. Photo: Michel Nelson

Sunday, March 8 — Group of 5-8 humpback whales were feeding and surfacing very close to the boat! We stayed and watched the action for over an hour.

Wednesday, March 11— A little rain won’t stop us! The sun came out as we ventured out onto flat calm seas. Passengers were treated to more surface feeding and activity near the boat by 4-5 humpback whales. Great looks at 2 gray whales on northbound migration. Check out some video from March 11 on our Facebook page.

Commitment to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Our main tour boat Velocity is now powered by brand new engines that meet the latest EPA standards in clean burning, fuel saving marine motors. These engines are quiet, have no gassy smell, and fast!

Velocity while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Velocity, Star of Stagnaro Charter Boats/ Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay.

This entry was posted on March 11, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Humpback whales near Santa Cruz

Humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Saturday and Sunday we had 10-15 humpback whales each day, most whales are in the north bay on the Santa Cruz side of Monterey Bay. On Sunday, March 1, we had lunge feeding humpback whales at the surface, and witnessed several breaches in the distance. We saw 500-1000 common dolphins on both trips out this weekend! Today reports from the harbor that humpback whales can be seen breaching and lunge feeding on anchovies just a few miles offshore. Tickets available for whale watching trips this weekend:

Velociy & Rainbow after Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Double rainbow at the harbor on Saturday! photo: Michael Nelson

humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback whale, Monterey Bay on Saturday 2/28/15 photo: Michael Nelson

common dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Common Dolphins, Monterey Bay, 2/28/15 photo: Michael Nelson

common dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Common Dolphin, Monterey Bay, March 1, 2015. photo: Michael Nelson

dolpins and birds while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Dolphins and Birds! photo: Michael Nelson

This entry was posted on March 4, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Tuesday Baywatch Report

Tuesday Whale Watching Trip on Monterey Bay: Yesterday 2/24 we were thrilled to see a humpback whale breach, a huge pod of common dolphins, sea lions, birds galore, and otters!

Baywatch while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This entry was posted on February 25, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Gray and Humpback Whales Feed Together

Gray & Humback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Photo Credit: Jenn Byrd

Friday, February 20: We saw 8 humpback whales, a few came close to the boat! and 1000 common dolphins, bow riding alongside Velocity.

Saturday, February 21: More humpback whales and a few gray whales passing through. We caught sight of about 100 common dolphins out in the Monterey Bay on Saturday.

Sunday, February 22: Sunday whale watching trip – We saw 6-7 humpback whales together with gray whales! The grays and humpbacks were traveling and feeding together, following giant bait balls of anchovies. Joining in the active feeding were sea lions, pelicans, cormorants, gulls. It was quite a party about 6 miles out from Santa Cruz, just north of the Soquel Hole.

Our dolphin sightings were up again on Sunday; we saw at least 1000 common dolphin enjoying life in the Bay!

Map while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

MAP: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)

This entry was posted on February 23, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Humpbacks Wintering in Monterey Bay

Humpbacks Wintering in Monterey while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Sightings Report for February 18, 2015:

On Wednesday's whale watching trip we had a breacher! Several humpback whales who are "wintering" here in Monterey Bay showed us some amazing action, surface behaviors fairly near to the boat. We also saw gray whales.

This entry was posted on February 20, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Humpback & gray whales, common dolphins

velocity while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Whale and Dolphin Sightings Report

Friday 2/13: We saw 4 gray whales, 1000 common dolphins on our outer Monterey Bay Whale Watching trip. Also got great looks at sea lions and otters in the kelp.

Saturday and Sunday 2/14-15: More gray whales, 6-10 humpback whales, and hundreds of common dolphins!

Monday and Tuesday 2/16-17: Both days we saw 12-15 humpback whales. We watched surface feeding and diving/tail fluking. There were hundreds of common dolphins on Monday, though we saw only about 20 dolphins on our Tuesday outing.

Join us for year-round marine wildlife adventure! Next whale watching trips are Saturday, February 21st at 12:00 pm, and Sunday the 22nd at 11:00 am. See the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary with Santa Cruz Whale Watching!

Welcome back Velocity! Our main tour boat is now powered by new engines that meet the latest EPA standards in clean burning, fuel saving marine motors. Look for Velocity in Dock F at the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor.

This entry was posted on February 18, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Monterey whale sightings this week

Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Sightings Report -Tuesday, February 10, 2015: a beautiful day on board Sea Stag Six for whale watching on Monterey Bay. We spent time watching a pair of humpback whales close to Santa Cruz, tail fluking and surface feeding, along with a pod of dolphin. The whales and dolphins were both feeding on small fish – we could see the feeder fish at the surface! Migrating gray whales could be seen from afar, passing through Monterey Bay.

Welcome back Velocity! Our main tour boat is now powered by new engines that meet the latest EPA standards in clean burning, fuel saving marine motors. Monterey whale watching trips resume Friday, February 13 and continue daily through President's Day. Get your tickets to see whales, dolphins, sea lions, otters, birds and more on the beautiful Monterey Bay. All trips leave out of the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor.

Velocity Full while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Photo: DJ Nordland | Velocity Stagnaro Charter Boats

This entry was posted on February 11, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Humpback and gray whales just 2 miles out

Humpback and gray whales just 2 miles out while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

1/24/15 Great trip whale watching on our six-pack boat "Sea Stag Six" this weekend. With sunny winter conditions, it was fun day finding whales in Monterey Bay!

We saw 4 humpback whales and 6 gray whales, with lots of tail flukes from both, and a couple of close drive-bys from a humpback whale. We saw whales from just two miles out from the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor and out to the Monterey Canyon ten miles out!

For the next few weeks, our large public tour boat Velocity is in the shipyard undergoing a complete re-powering. She will soon be powered by engines that meet the latest EPA standards in clean burning, fuel saving marine motors.

New Motor while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

We're taking reservations for whale watching on board Velocity February 13 and beyond.

This entry was posted on January 26, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Gray whale migration Alaska to Baja, Mexico

Migration Map while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Gray whale season is in full swing on Monterey Bay! Each year more than 20,000 gray whales pass through Monterey Bay waters during their annual migration between Alaska and Baja, Mexico. Keep an eye out as gray whales can often be seen from shore! This winter we have a small population of humpback whales who are either staying late or arriving early. Dolphins, sea lions, otters and birds make whale watching an amazing wildlife tour.

Gray Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Gray whale, Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay. Photo: Teddy Daligga

Notice: From January 5th thru February 5th our main vessel Velocity will be in the shipyard undergoing a complete re-powering. She will soon be powered by engines that meet the latest EPA standards in clean burning, fuel saving marine motors.

Meanwhile we will have our smaller 6-pack charter vessel Sea Stag Six available for whale watching trips in January. The Sea Stag offers small-group and private charters to see the gray whale migration. Our on-board naturalist and captain take you to the best wildlife viewing locations! SEA STAG TRIPS AND TICKETS

Sea Stag Six while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Tickets are available on Velocity for trips February 13th and beyond.

This entry was posted on January 19, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


New Year, New Whales

Peak while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

January 1, 2015 New Year's Day. The wind is down and the sun is up, a great day for whale watching! Today we saw COMMON DOLPHINS, a GRAY WHALE MOTHER AND CALF, and TEN HUMPBACK WHALES, breaching and one that breached multiple times near the boat.

The highlight of this whale watching trip were the gray whales. Our naturalist Megan said that the baby gray whale was tiny, just a newborn! It’s unusual to see this early in the season, and what a sight for our crew and guests!

This entry was posted on January 2, 2015 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


2014 Sightings

Happy New Year! Humpback whales remain active in Monterey Bay

Humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Happy New Year! Even in late December the humpback whales are still populous in Monterey Bay. Whales are feeding on krill and anchovies out near Moss Landing and over the deep waters at the Monterey Canyon. We've been spotting multiple humpback whales each trip!

Migration: We are also now seeing gray whales heading south to their winter breeding & calving grounds in Baja California. Over 10,000 gray whales will pass through our waters this winter as they make the trek south to Baja then back north again in early spring.

Migration map while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Pacific Gray Whale Migration, Alaska to Baja California – Map

For now in Monterey Bay we continue to enjoy the antics of the lingering – and hungry – humpback whales.

Friday, December 26: We saw about 6 humpback whales and also several gray whales on their southbound migration between Alaska and Baja California.

Saturday, December 27: A terrific lunge feeding event in the middle of Monterey Bay. We counted about 30 humpback whales, with a fair amount of close "drive-bys" for amazing looks at the animals.

Tuesday, December 30: A windy day out there, but wonderful sights of the humpback whales lunge feeding. The animals were feeding particularly close by the boat, giving passengers the opportunity to see lunge feeding from the perfect angles, great views of the whale "tongue" and baleen filters.

Sea Stag Six while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Introducing our six passenger boat, Sea Stag Six, also available for private, smaller tours.

Happy New Year from all of us at Santa Cruz Whale Watching! We hope to see you soon on board Velocity, or the Sea Stag Six!

This entry was posted on December 31, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Winter humpbacks, dolphins and gray whales

Winter Humpbacks while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Saturday, December 20, 2014: Whale Watching on Velocity we saw 15 humpback whales! The whales were breaching, pec slapping, tail throws… Amazing activity!

Sunday, December 21, 2014: We saw 6 humpback whales and around 200 common dolphins! Clear water allowed to see them under the boat as they rode alongside. Then at the end of the trip a small humpback breached by the boat countless times!

xxxxxxxxxxx while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Common Dolphins bow riding alongside Velocity. Monterey Bay, CA Photo: Michael Nelson

Tuesday, December 23, 2014: A variety of species today! We saw 4 gray whales and 9 humpback whales. The sun was shining for us today on the 3rd day of winter!

Join us on the beautiful Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary – Fully narrated 3-4 hour whale watching trips depart out of the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor aboard our 60 foot passenger yacht "Velocity."

This entry was posted on December 24, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Holiday Adventure with Santa Cruz Whale Watching

xxxxxxxxxxx while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Photo Credit: John Danforth

Join us on Monterey Bay! Whale Watching tours are scheduled for this weekend, Saturday December 20 and Sunday, December 21. Make it a Holiday Adventure with Santa Cruz Whale Watching! For information and reservations call (831) 427-0230

We are still seeing humpback whales in the Bay, and Gray whales are here! Gray whale southbound migration is happening now as whales swim southbound through Monterey Bay towards their winter breeding grounds near Baja California.

Gift Certificates while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Happy Holidays will last all year with a Whale Watching Gift Certificate!

Available in any amount, good for trips throughout the year. Order by phone or visit our ticket office and gift shop at 1718 Brommer Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95062. Open 9am – 4pm daily. Call (831) 427-0230.

This entry was posted on December 19, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


December humpback whales all across the Bay

Humpbacks while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Whale Watching December 7, 2014: Humpback whales all across the Monterey Bay! One frisky breacher, and over 300 common dolphins doing their usual tricks!

Join us! Holiday Whale Watching trips running weekends through December and New Year's week out of the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor. See humpback whales, gray whales, dolphins and more! FULL SCHEDULE

Gift Cert while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Great Holiday idea! GIFT CERTIFICATES available in any amount! Good for trips on board Velocity, recipients can use to go on a whale watching trip any time in the future (reservations required). To purchase you can call our shop/ticket office with your credit card # and we'll mail it to you or you can come by the shop in person.

*NEW* Office address: 1718 Brommer St, Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Open 9am – 4pm, 7 days a week

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Humpbacks and Dolphins on Sunday

Sunday, November 23, 2014: We started out with some nice humpback whales closer to Santa Cruz, maybe 3 or so. Then we headed out into the Bay and found a pod of at least 600 common dolphins! They were talking and leaping and bow riding…It was awesome!! And THEN we got to watch 6 humpback whales lunging!

This entry was posted on November 26, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Santa Cruz Whale Watching Sightings November 8-11

Dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Monterey Bay is alive with marine life−humpback whales, dolphins, sea lions, birds, even mola-mola! Each day is a little bit different, but always amazing and memorable. Soon we will start looking for gray whales migrating southward from Alaska to Baja California. For now we'll keep enjoying humpback whales, California sea lions, otters and gorgeous marine birds feeding in the Bay.

Saturday: We spotted 10 humpback whales lunge feeding in the Bay among rafts and rafts of California sea lions hoping to grab a few fish for lunch.

xxxxxxxxxxx while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, California | Photo: Michael Nelson

Sunday: We were delighted to see bottlenose dolphins frolicking in Santa Cruz before we ventured out into the foggy morning. We had to search but found several humpback whales with some

Monday: To start the trip we saw 500 common dolphins just outside the harbor! They swam alongside the boat and were just spectacular to see. We found 10 humpback whales scattered throughout the Bay. One of them breached pretty near to the boat! Also spotted – a big old mola-mola aka sunfish.

Tuesday: Lunge feeding humpback whales just 2-3 miles out from Santa Cruz. We found more whales further out, near the Soquel Hole about half-way between Santa Cruz and Moss Landing. We had great views of common surface behaviors, including head slap. Everyone enjoyed flat calm ocean conditions on Monterey Bay.

xxxxxxxxxxx while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, California | Photo: Michael Nelson

Gray whales will soon be coming through our waters on their annual migration from Alaska feeding grounds, to their mating and calving grounds off the coast of Baja California. Each year scientists along with dedicated enthusiast take a count of this once-endangered whale species. Gray whale spouts are easily visible from land as they try to stay along the coast line to avoid predators in the open waters. Counting efforts are underway at Big Sur. According to this article, the population of gray whales is rising:

"At their lowest back in the last century, there were probably around 3,000 to 5,000 gray whales. … But they've recovered and stabilized at around 20,000." – Dave Weller, NOAA

Here is a link to a comprehensive guide to whale watching with kids along the US west coast, from Washington to Southern California. Read about the many species of whales and dolphins living and thriving in the Pacific Ocean and National Sanctuaries along the Pacific coast.

This entry was posted on November 12, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Great whale and dolphin show, beautiful ocean conditions

Great Whale & Dolphin Show while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Friday, November 7, 2014: Whale watching today on sparkling autumn waters we had a great whale and dolphin show, beautiful ocean conditions!

Near Moss Landing, we watched 15 humpback whales lunge feeding all afternoon. Surface behaviors including a head slap, and breaching! We had about 5-6 minutes with friendly humpbacks swimming near to the boat. Another loner juvenile whale was spotted exploring near Pleasure Point.

We got some photos of "Shred" a humpback whale with distinctive injured tail, most likely bitten at by Orcas. We've been seeing this guy in the Monterey Bay over spring and summer.

Shred the humpback whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

"SHRED" the humpback whale | Monterey Bay, CA. Photo: Michael Nelson

On Wednesday's trip we had "ride-along" bottlenose dolphins right out of the harbor. A group of 6 dolphins rode the bow with us for about 20 minutes! We traveled out to Moss Landing to see 8-10 whales feeding, tail slaps, breaching. And we saw Risso's dolphins on the way back in towards Santa Cruz.

Lunge Feeding while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Lunge feeding “chomp” Photo: Michael Nelson

Whales very close to the boat while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Whales very close to the boat! Photo: Michael Nelson

This entry was posted on November 7, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


The whales are still thick from Santa Cruz to Monterey

Whales are thick while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Monday, November 3, 2014: On Saturday the much-needed rain cleared out so we headed out whale watching! We had lots of humpback whales close to home, only 5 miles out of Santa Cruz! We watched a group of 8 humpbacks surface feeding with a herd of about 200 California sea lions. The feeding pack came right by the boat several times. There were another 6-10 whales also in the area around us. Then we came upon a pod of over 300 common dolphins that swam along with the moving boat for about 20 minutes!

Sunday we had lots of whales that were more spread out through the Monterey Bay. But we saw multiple breaching and tail throwing and all kinds of spectacular surface behaviors this day.

A special treat – We saw a Steller Sea Lion on the mile buoy last week, these guys are massive!

xxxxxxxxxxx while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Steller Sea Lion, Monterey Bay near Santa Cruz. Photo: Michael Nelson

The next Santa Cruz Whale Watching trip is scheduled for Wednesday, November 5 at 12:00 PM. Flat calm conditions are expected, with the humpback whales and dolphins still actively feeding and frolicking in the Monterey Bay! Our fully-narrated 3-4 hour whale watching trip leaves from The Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor. Trips do go rain or shine!

Look! We had an awesome visit from some friendly humpback whales on Friday, October 18!

Here are some neat aerial photos of humpback whales and sea lions near Moss Landing last week.

Orange County – Our neighbors down south have had some amazing and rare sightings over the last month – pilot whales and sperm whales spotted off of Dana Point! If you are down in the southland get out there! Try Captain Dave's Dolphin Safari or Dana Wharf Whale Watching.

Monterey Bay W.E.T. Rescue Crew, Thank you for your great work! Here's a big shout out to rescuers from the Whale Entanglement Team this week for helping out a juvenile humpback whale who got its tail caught up in buoy line. For more information on how you can support the Monterey Bay W.E.T. volunteer crew, visit the Monterey Bay Marine Life Studies Facebook page.

This entry was posted on November 3, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Humpback whales cool off in Monterey Bay

Humpback whales cool off in Monterey Bay while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Monday, October 6, 2014: Sunday we had a super warm day on the bay! Hundreds – rafts – of California sea lions were interacting together with humpback whales. We had nice close looks at 10-15 humpback whales near Moss Landing, with many more whales in sight farther out over the deepest parts of the Monterey Bay Canyon.

Today we had a great display of humpback whales surface lunge feeding, vertical lunges out at the Soquel Hole, near Santa Cruz. We saw about 7-8 humpback whales out near Soquel Hole, but one guy was exploring very close to Santa Cruz just a mile out from the Harbor. We also had a group of bottlenose dolphin riding along with us just outside the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor.

Next whale watching trips are this weekend – Friday through Monday. Plus,

BONUS: Fireworks Cruise! Saturday night, October 11, 7-10 PM for the Monte Foundation Benefit Fireworks Show over Capitola Village!

And, this coming Monday, October 13, is Columbus Day! Climb aboard “Velocity” to explore the Monterey Bay!

This entry was posted on October 6, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Humpback whales near shore at Santa Cruz

Humpback whales near shore at Santa Cruz while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Friday, October 3, 2014: We continue to see scattered humpback whales near shore at Santa Cruz, occasionally lunge feeding…More whales lunge feeding together out in the middle of the bay in groups of 6-10 humpback whales. We saw double-breaching whales Sunday and Monday, plus one pod of 6 dolphins swimming with 200 sea lions with really close drive-bys. October! Still excellent whale activity, and should stay sunny and warm through the weekend!

Posted on October 3, 2014 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Sharing the wonders of Monterey Bay marine life

Sharing the wonders of Monterey Bay marine life while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Sunday, September 14, 2014: Yesterday our whale watching trip was another rewarding adventure! We had a great group of visitors from around the world to our next door neighbors, sharing the wonders of Monterey Bay marine life. Among the sights:

  • 100s of common dolphins
  • Humpback whales – One big breach near to the boat!
  • Dozens of otters and California sea lions

After the trip we received a note from one of our guests, Tina, who wrote:

"We were so lucky; we got to see so many whales, a slumber party of otters and some beautiful dolphins and sea lions. The highlight was obviously when one of the humpbacks decided to breach and I was so astounded, that I did not get it on film but I did get lots of pictures of gorgeous whale tails and of course the otters"

Well, Tina, we have that moment for you with this photo sent in by another passenger!

Humpback Whale Breached while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback whale breach, Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Colin Wade

Humpback Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback whale tail, Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Tina Hughes

Humpback Whale Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback whale tail, Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Tina Hughes

Humpback Whale Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback whale tail, Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Tina Hughes

Common Dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Common Dolphins, Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Tina Hughes

Otter Party while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Otter party! Santa Cruz Whale Watching, Monterey Bay, CA. 9/14/14. Photo: Tina Hughes

Posted on September 15, 2014 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Humpback whales, dolphins, orcas active in Monterey Bay

Humpback whales, dolphins, orcas active in Monterey Bay while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Thursday, September 4, 2014: Today on Sea Stag Six we saw a pod of 5 orcas, including mama and calf practicing their spy hops together! For quite a while we were also able to observe a group of docile humpbacks surfacing amidst a raft of sea lions. But we have to admit the orcas kind of stole the show.

September 3 – 7: Great trips all week! We've been running busy whale watching trips on both our boats – Velocity and Sea Stag. Every time out we're seeing humpback whales this side of Monterey Bay near Santa Cruz. We watched a pair of humpbacks right off the Lighthouse/ Steamer Lane. Whales feeding on large schools of anchovies are being seen from the Harbor-mouth along West Cliff Drive all the way to Natural Bridges. As well as the near-shore sightings we see multiple animals offshore 4-6 miles out over the Soquel Hole and deep water canyons Santa Cruz side of Monterey Bay. Humpbacks near and far can be seen breaching, tail throwing, pec-slapping – We see about 25 whales each trip!

Common dolphins have been joining us, bow-riding with the boat out in deeper waters, and we've been seeing bottlenose dolphins right outside the Harbor, too!

Posted on September 8, 2014 by jennyo

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Whales and dolphins all near Santa Cruz

Whales and dolphins all near Santa Cruz while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Wednesday, August 27, 2014: Lots of whale and dolphin action this week on the Santa Cruz side of the bay, about 5-6 miles out from the Santa Cruz Harbor, over the Soquel Canyon. Yesterday we had a lot of fun with about 600 common dolphins frolicking alongside the boat. These dolphins were bow-riding, spinning, breaching and darting under the boat. Clear calm waters let us see them in the water down 20 feet!

Dolpins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Common Dolphin zooming by. photo: Michael Nelson

Humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

August 23, 2014 Monterey Bay humpback whales. Photo: Michael Nelson

We also spotted 20 humpback whales, many doing close drive-bys near the boat – a few surface lunges near the boat, and many tail throws and breaching from distance.

All last weekend we've had active humpback whales, showing tail throws, pec slaps, breaching and close approaches, even under the boat! We count 15-20 whales on average each time we go out.

This entry was posted on August 27, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Humpbacks near Boardwalk in Santa Cruz!

Humpbacks near Boardwalk in Santa Cruz! while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

photo by Richard Duck

This entry was posted on August 22, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Humpback whales, dolphins, orcas active in Monterey Bay

Humpback whales, dolphins, orcas active in Monterey Bay while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Over the last few days we have had full boats and eventful whale watching trips! It is great to have passengers visiting from Europe, Asia and South America on board alongside California natives seeing the beautiful Monterey Bay.

We've seen many humpback whales on each trip this week, exhibiting many surface behaviors! On some occasions whales have ventured close to the boat to pec-slap, tail-slap, and even breach near the boat. When a humpback swims nearby, we can smell the whale's breath – "Oooh! and ewww."

Read more about summer whales in the beautiful Monterey Bay: Santa Cruz Sentinel

Whale while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Photo: Michael Nelson

Dolphins while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Common Dolphin, Monterey Bay August 2014 | Photo: Michael Nelson

This entry was posted on August 15, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Humpback whales, dolphins, orcas active in Monterey Bay

Humpback whales, dolphins, orcas active in Monterey Bay while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

August 6, 2014: The last several trips have included many different awesome behaviors from multiple humpback whales, as dozens of animals continue summer feeding in Monterey Bay. In the last week we have seen breaching, tail throws, pectoral slapping and even surface lunge feeding from the animals. We have also had bow riding Dolphins and giant ocean sunfish (Mola Mola) come under the boat! Whale Watching from Santa Cruz in Monterey Bay is as good as it gets right now!

Humpbacks while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback whales, Monterey Bay, CA July 2014 – Photo: Aaron Neff

Read on for highlights and photos from recent trips this amazing summer in Monterey Bay!

August 5, 2014: Whale watching out on the Sea Stag Six private charter, they saw a mother humpback and her calf breaching in unison, along with many more active whales and a mola mola!

Mola Mola while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Mola Mola (Sunfish), Monterey Bay, CA August, 2014 – Photo: Jolynne Jones

July 19, 2014: Friendly humpbacks circle the boat up close! They breached, pec slapped and threw their flukes countless times. We saw approximately 40 whales just 20 minutes out from Santa Cruz.

Ultimate Selfie while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

The ultimate selfie! | Thank you Adam Strauss

July 20, 2014: See for yourself! Thank you to Aaron Neff and Sean Kelley for sharing their awesome images of humpback whales, jellies, California sea lions and otters!

Humpback while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback whales, Monterey Bay, CA | July 20, 2014 – Photo: Sean Kelley

California Sea Lion while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

California sea lion, Monterey Bay, CA | July 20, 2014 – Photo: Sean Kelley

Humpback Tail while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback whales, Monterey Bay, CA | July 20, 2014 – Photo: Sean Kelley

Jelly fish while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Beautiful Jelly, Monterey Bay, CA | July 20, 2014 – Photo: Sean Kelley

Sea Otters while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Sea Otters, Monterey Bay, CA | July 20, 2014 – Photo: Sean Kelley

July 22, 2014: Dozens of humpback whales, blows near and far in every direction! We passed several juvenile male humpbacks that were exploring up near Santa Cruz to get out to Monterey Canyon near Moss Landing to where we found numerous whales and activity: tail throws, breaching and surfacing – some near the boat! the whales were surrounded by rafts of 100s of sea lions. Along the way we discovered a pod of about 20 Dall's porpoises, very fast animals, very sleek and with black and white coloring similar to killer whales. The porpoises zoomed alongside and under the boat!

Santa Cruz Whale Watching trips depart out of the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor aboard Velocity or Sea Stag Six, offering fully narrated 3-4 hour tours of the amazing wildlife and vistas of our Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. See our complete schedule here: Book online now

This entry was posted on August 6, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Lunge feeding humpbacks fill Monterey Bay

Lunge feeding humpbacks fill Monterey Bay while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Update July 20: This morning reports coming in of lunge feeding humpbacks at Seacliff State Beach. Join us this afternoon – Trip added at 4:00 PM today!

July 17-19, 2014: Thursday and Friday we had incredible amounts of lunge feeding humpback whales in Monterey Bay! We began to spot whale spouts out at the mouth of the submarine canyon. We saw very dramatic lunge feeding, spy-hopping, tail throws and pec slaps! Many whale behaviors were on display, mixed in with the odd breach here and there.

xxxxxxxxxxx while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Photo: Tanis Gomez | October, 2011 | Humpback whales feeding in Monterey Bay

Saturday there were more humpback whales over the canyon – over 20 whales were spotted! They were breaching high out of the water, One humpback whale "chin-slapped" for quite a while. A mother and calf did quite a few "drive-bys." They seem to be curious about the boat and all the interested passengers.

All three days “Wilbur'” our resident humpback whale welcomed us back to Santa Cruz a quarter-mile off the beach and gave us close-up looks all three days. Wilbur is a little guy who has been feeding off Santa Cruz for almost two months now.

More about this season whale watching in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary: Whale Show Returns to the Bay

This entry was posted on July 20, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Tuesday Blue whales in Monterey Bay

Tuesday Blue whales in Monterey Bay while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Tuesday Blue whales in Monterey Bay! The Blue Whale is the largest animal to ever inhabit the earth including the dinosaurs. Their distinctive high spout can reach over 25' and be spotted many miles away. Blue whales can usually be found in the Monterey Bay in the summer when they feed on krill (small shrimp like crustaceans).

Tuesday, July 1, 2014: 3 BLUE WHALES! Yesterday whale watching we saw 3 blue whales out in Monterey Bay: a blue whale mother with her calf, which is fairly rare to see! …and one big blue whale.

Blue whale feeding in Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz Whale Watching. July 1, 2014 Photo: Michael Nelson while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Blue whale feeding in Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz Whale Watching. July 1, 2014 Photo: Michael Nelson

We saw 12 humpback whales in middle of Monterey Bay, plus sea lions and a sweet visit with sea otters at the kelp beds.

Otters while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Monday, June 30, 2014: Three Humpback whales just one mile off of Santa Cruz; More out in the middle of the Bay! The whales were breaching, feeding, good action! Two big whale breaches from a whale on the way back in to Santa Cruz Harbor. Also saw Risso's dolphins.

About the trip: Whale Watching on Monterey Bay. This 3-4 hour Monterey whale watching trip focuses on the Humpback Whale. The local herd comes to Monterey Bay and the central coast for seasonal feeding. They feed on anchovies, sardines, and krill (shrimp like crustaceans). There is also an increased change of spotting Blue whales in Summer and Fall.

This entry was posted on July 2, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Lots of humpbacks in middle of Monterey Bay!

Lots of humpbacks in middle of Monterey Bay while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Lots of humpbacks in middle of Monterey Bay! On the Tuesday whale watching trip we saw 25 whales with a couple of tail throws and close drive bys! Recent trips we have seen one whale in particular that's been feeding on anchovies in the north Bay waters, off our home harbor of Santa Cruz.

Join us whale watching on Monterey Bay! Our next outing is tomorrow, June 26, departing from the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor at 11:00 AM.

xxxxxxxxxxx while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback whale fluke and California Sea Lions feasting, Monterey Bay, November 2013. Photo: Jim Holtan

xxxxxxxxxxx while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Lunge feeding humpback whales, May, 2014, Monterey Bay. (photo: Michael Nelson)

This entry was posted on June 25, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Friendly humpback whales near Santa Cruz Monterey Bay

Friendly humpback whales near Santa Cruz Monterey Bay while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback whale "drive by" photo: Ken Stagnaro

Sunday, June 22, 2014: Today we enjoyed the sights of many humpback whales near Santa Cruz on Monterey Bay. One of the whales approached us and swam right underneath the boat!

Our next whale watching trip is Tuesday, June 24, departing at 11:00 AM. All trips depart out of the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor.

This entry was posted on June 23, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Whale watching humpbacks in Monterey Bay

Whale watching humpbacks in Monterey Bay while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Sunday, June 22, 2014: Whale watching on Monterey Bay – Friday and Saturday both whale watching trips saw about 15 humpback whales over the submarine canyon. Its feeding time in Monterey Bay!

Humpback whales come to feed in the waters off of Santa Cruz, Moss Landing and Monterey each year from spring through fall. Join us for amazing whale watching, also dolphins, blue whales, birds, and amazing marine life.

This entry was posted on June 22, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Orcas and humpback whales at Monterey Canyon

Orcas and humpback whales at Monterey Canyon while Whale Watching in Monterey Bay California with Stagnaro Charters

Humpback whale breach, Monterey Bay whale watching; archive photo

Saturday, June 14, 2014: Today we got to see KILLER WHALES and nine humpback whales over the Monterey Canyon. And on our way home, close to Santa Cruz we came across three more humpbacks; one breached numerous times from a fair distance!

This entry was posted on June 14, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Rare finds in Monterey Bay!

Sunday March 23,2014: On Sunday Santa Cruz Whale Watching had a rare and very special trip on Monterey Bay! We followed a pair of Humpbacks and a Gray whale swimming together! Our Naturalist had never seen this behavior before. We saw a Humpback breaching! Another rare sight was a “Megapod” of a thousand plus Risso's dolphins. They were literally stretching out for over a mile! An awesome sight!

Monday March 24, 2014: We were only a 1/2 mile out of Santa Cruz when we spotted our first whale! It was a young gray. We then headed to outer Monterey Bay where we had another incredible encounter with two humpback whales. They got friendly with the boat, swimming right under us while adrift and looking up at the people. We also got to see several breaches and spectacular tail throws!! It was another special day on Monterey Bay!

On Friday March 21, 2014: we enjoyed 5 Gray Whales in Monterey Bay and dozens of Otters in Santa Cruz.

Saturday March 22, 2014: On Saturday we saw a couple of Humpback Whales and a Gray Whale. A wonderful 4 days of Whale Watching on Monterey Bay!!!

This entry was posted on March 25, 2014 by jennyo.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


2013 Sightings

A variety of whales!

We are still seeing a variety of whales on Monterey Bay as is fairly customary for this time of year. With some Humpback Whales starting to show up for summer feeding, there are still Gray whale mother/calf pairs heading past Santa Cruz on their way bay to Alaska for the summer. And if that's not enough there have been numerous sightings of Killer Whales (Orca) as well. They are known to predate on Gray whales during spring migration. There have even been Blue Whales spotted in the bay! It’s a good time to get out on the water!

This entry was posted on April 23, 2013 by admin.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gray's are still passing Santa Cruz on their winter migration with regularity. We have also have had several sightings of Killer Whales recently.

This entry was posted on January 18, 2013 by admin.

Book your trip today! Book online now or call (831) 427-0230