The whales were side-by-side almost vertical with their noses pointed high in the sky – we were witnessing something truly special – a double breach (two Humpback whales flying out of the water and crashing back in at the same time) – but not just any two, this was a mother and calf, almost within touching distance of the boat!Our guide told us she had been doing this for 15 years and this was the first time she got pictures of it! Today though, this mother and calf breached so many times for us that she was sure many of us would have a good chance at a great shot. Unfortunately for us, one of the best photo opportunities of them together was so close to the boat that both my wife and I missed it because we had our long zoom lenses on our cameras – doh!
We were in California, between Los Angeles and San Francisco at the beautiful Monterey Peninsula, a place that once you’ve arrived, you never want to leave. The drive South from San Francisco is just under two hours if you use the freeway. We ventured down the coastal road (Highway 1) and it took us about 5 ½ hours with our very frequent stops to take pictures. We were here to do some whale-watching and we were not going to be disappointed. In the Monterey area the weather is constantly changing, so we pretty much had to book the charter and hope the weather would cooperate. With that in mind, we set off for Fisherman’s Wharf to check out the numerous whale watching offerings.
We chose Monterey Bay Whale Watch (www.GoWhales.com), located at pier 1 in Fisherman’s Wharf as our tour guide of Monterey Bay and our whale watching excursion.
Operating year-round, they have Marine Biologists and Marine Naturalists’ on board every trip. They claim to be Monterey’s #1 whale watching operator, and after spending a morning with them we can certainly attest to that! We left the harbor a good 25 minutes or more before any of the other tour vessels, and returned long after the others had docked, disembarked and no passenger was left in sight!
Not only are the tours longer, but we actually spent more time in key areas of the ocean watching the huge Humpback and Killer (Orca) whales.
Other vessels arrived and then departed where we had stopped to watch the Humpbacks crashing in the ocean – but they missed all the good stuff! We followed a group of Orca whales for a good 45 minutes, with them getting so close they almost touched the boat! Despite the fact that we spent plenty of time at sea, if felt like all too soon the trip was over and we had to head back to land. Fortunately though, we enjoyed plenty of whale sightings on our way back to the harbor – it was an amazing morning!
Tips Before You Go: Dress warmly, it gets pretty cold out there even on a warm day, and the weather can be very changeable. The morning was beautiful and warm when we got on board, but it quickly got very cold out on the Pacific Ocean – we were glad we’d brought our sweatshirts and thick jackets with us just in case. A nice on-board feature is that you can purchase coffee, tea and hot chocolate at reasonable prices to help you warm up.
One more tip we should share – while the water was as smooth as glass during our excursion I’m sure there are other days where it gets a little choppier, so don’t forget to take your Gravol/anti-nausea pills – just in case!
For a terrific map of the area check out this website: www.ResortMaps.com/Monterey. Another good website we found is SeeMonterey.com/ – it helped us a lot to figure out what the area has to offer and what we wanted to take in.
Driving The Infamous California Highway 1 (San Francisco to Monterey)
Iain Shankland & Gail Shankland started blogging in order to inspire and motivate people to travel the world from their perspective – specializing in having the most fun while using the least amount of money, travelling on the cheap without sacrificing comfort.
Copyright © 2013 Iain & Gail Shankland / TravelBloggers.ca (at)Gmail.com
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