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Now! Marine Wildlife Encounters!

Marine Wildlife Encounters

Gray whales are on their way with first sighting today

December 26, 2020

Today we found 2 humpback whales and our first GRAY WHALE sighting for the 2021 season! 

(Archive photo - Gray whale in Monterey Bay by Michael Nelson)


Twice every year over 20,000 Gray Whales pass through our 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 off of Santa Cruz from mid February through April. This 10,000+ mile roundtrip is one of the longest migrations of any animal known. Peak viewing for southbound whales is usually in mid January. 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 “spyhopping”.

Whale Watching trips are running all holiday week, including New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. 

We continue to offer safe and healthy tours with small groups on board our boats and following all masking and cleaning protocols and enforcing social distance. A great outdoor activity for your family.

Monica Reynolds | Sat, Dec 26, 2020 4:21 PM