It was a wonderful experience, but I would like to first warn that you aren't really going to be able to see the whales up close. It was explained to us that because of certain laws, the boat has to be several hundred feet away from the whales. So by looking at the pictures, you can see that we weren't able to see them THAT close. However, I was able to see sea otters, lots of birds, two different kinds of whales, and dolphins. We even got to see a baby whale and its mom! It was very cute. The dolphins swam up closer to us, and there was a whole school of them. It was very beautiful.
The guides were VERY informative. The whole trip lasted about 3 hours total, and they did not run out of things to tell us. They spoke over a loudspeaker on the boat that could be heard from wherever you were, so you didn't miss any information.
A warning, though: even if you aren't prone to seasickness, you might want to take precautions and take some Dramamine. The ride out there is VERY choppy. It felt like I was on some kind of roller coaster ride. After an hour or two, you might get kinda lightheaded, like I did! Luckily, there are seats inside the cabin where you can sit down away from the outside and buy hot chocolate (or other snacks).
It's also important to note that it's VERY cold out on the sea, even in the summer! Do NOT wear flip-flops! Your toes will freeze AND you might slip on the deck. It's very wet because of the water mist. It feels like it's raining at times.
We booked online, so we were guaranteed spots. You might want to call ahead or get there early because they do fill up, especially during peak season. The trip cost a little over $20 per person.
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March 31, 2007
This was an incredible trip. Monterey Bay Whale Watch trips are all led by a marine biologist. They are knowledgeable about the abundant sea life in this area. On our October trip we saw two humpback whales, dolphins, numerous seal lions, otters, and sea birds. The whales were incredible. They swam under the boat twice and surfaced right off the bow. Those of us at the front of the boat even got a little whale spray on us.
I recommend this trip to everyone. Wear a windbreaker, take sunscreen, and make sure you have lots of room on your camera memory card or lots of film. We took this same trip in May and saw two Orca. Incredible to see in the wild. I plan to make many more trips in the future. I like the morning trips best, and at about $40 it is a bargain for a once in a lifetime experience.
From journal Whale-Watching
October 4, 2003
While in Monterey, do not pass up the opportunity to go whale watching. Whale sightings are so frequent in the bay area that some trips even guarantee that you will get your money back if you don't see one. Monterey Bay Whale Watch has a marine biologist on all trips to tell you what you are seeing.
It takes a good hour from the coast to get to the basin where whales hang out. Bring snacks and something to drink. Also, it is very chilly on the water, no matter how warm it is on land, so bring a warm jacket. Finally, don't forget your camera and film!
Many of the whale watching tours can be found on Fisherman's Wharf. The tours are available year-round but make reservations if you are in Monterey during the busy season (summer).
From journal Magnificent Monterey
October 17, 2006
From journal Weekend in Monterey