Visited: May, 2016
As part of our Route 1 trip down the California coast we began our journey in Monterey.
This was a short visit as I have been to Monterey about a hundred times. It is a wonderful, diverse city with educational, artsy, and natural wonders to behold. It has its world famous Aquarium, historical buildings, and fun tacky souvenirs to buy.
WHAT WE SAW
Being this my husband’s first trip to Monterey and only one night to spend I decided to just do what we could and explore the Fisherman’s Warf and go whale watching.
We went with Princess Whale watching tours. Our choice ultimately came down to the honestly of the company. They have a little board in the front of their shop that tells you the likelihood of a sighting that day and what kinds of whales have been seen. So if your heart was set of seeing killer whales and that day only had grey humpback you would know.
We bought our tickets first thing that morning and waited. A lot of tourists came in because they booked online and we were lucky to get our seats because by 10 AM they were turning people away. Waiting was nice too. The sun was shining and some seals were keeping us entertained with their songs and games of “King of the Rock.”
Before going out we only had light clothes so while we waited we went into a shop and bought two soft and warm sweatshirts. Our little souvenirs and to keep us warm on the ship 🙂 **Do NOT forget your sunblock too!
Princess Monterey Whale Watching take tours out twice a day. 10 AM and 1 PM. The crew gives a brief safety introduction and points guests to the location of the on board restroom, then the boat goes out.
As the boat heads out you’ll begin to notice all the different types of birds that make up the coastal ecosystem. There are seagulls, albatross, pelicans, loons, and more. If birding is something that interests you, this trip is a must do for them alone. Don’t forget about all the seals, otters, dolphins, porpoises and turtles! If you’re like me and don’t know as much you’ll still enjoy the chance to witness all the different kinds of creatures.
The boat went out about an hour as we were chasing the whales that day. They were roaming in their pods, feeding under the water and moving quickly so they were hard to find. However, it was still nice. There was an on board oceanographer from the Monterey State University who gave updates and told us stories of the bay. Until finally…
It was beautiful. We chased. We watched. Everyone on board was falling over themselves to take a selfie with the whales. Water spouted up and the whales dove to emerge again someplace else. It was great. Like a wonderful game. The boat chased the whales for a wonderful hour and then announced we were going to head back.
Everyone sat back down as passengers shared stories of their new experience and photographs.
On the way back to shore, reflecting on the majestic creatures that make up the world below the waves, I came to think about what a wonderful service whale watching tourism does. It’s important for these limited services, monitored by the city, to educate visitors about whales and the ecosystem. EcoTourism brings in revenue that otherwise would bring in detrimental industry to the area. It’s important to go see the whales if you care about them, and to choose a way to do so with the lowest impact possible. The Princess Whale Watching Tours does just that.
What is most wonderful about Monterey is the respect for the entire coastal ecosystem.
You probably are going whale watching on the Monterey Bay to see whales, and the odds are good that you will, but there are also many other types of wildlife to experience.
Remember to take it all in, even if you didn’t get to see the big guys.
Overall time spent: 3 hours. Wandering, shopping, and enjoying the wildlife.
Directions: On Highway 101, exit at Buellton and continue on Highway 246.