A 3-hour tour: whales, dolphins, otters and sea lions – Monterey Bay July 2010

Having a preference for non-motorized watercraft, I was a bit skeptical when my husband’s family booked us on a 3-hour tour with Stagnaro Charter Boats out of Santa Cruz, CA but, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the experience and at how much time we actually spent watching animated humpback whales, and even sighted a blue whale.

California Sea Lions

California Sea Lions

We began our tour watching playful bottlenose dolphins, California sea lions and otters. Then, after a long jaunt towards the open ocean we sighted our first humpback whales. Fortunately for us, it was a mama and its calf, and the calf gave us quite a show.

Humpback whale fluke

Humpback whale fluke

And, although I would recommend Stagnaro Charter Boats again if you’re considering a whale watching tour, their naturalist did inform us that the sightings are of course not guaranteed. Also, the trip was not without discomfort for some.

Breaching humpback whale

Breaching humpback whale

In our group of 5, I was the only one that experienced no seasickness. Only our niece (9 years old) got sick 5 times 😦 and the rest were just mildly woozy. My daughter Nora (4 years old) didn’t get sick but, she claimed to feel and act seasick after her cousin got sick. I told her she was part mermaid and mermaids don’t get seasick. Low and behold…seasickness disappeared! But, the 3-hour tour did make her sleepy.

Further into the trip, it got colder, and windier making for a miserable, uncomfortable ride. Being a Pacific Northwesterner, and a wildlife lover, I was so into the whales that I barely noticed the wet and cold. I think most passengers found the trip thorougly worth it. Only a few (who were still green when they stepped off the boat) swore they’d never venture on another whale watching tour. It’s hard to feel thrilled by a breaching whale when you’re nauseas or retching.

Blue whale

Blue whale

I’ve been fortunate enough to see orcas, humpbacks, grays, a fin whale and leaping and spinning dolphins from the bow of my kayak. That’s still my preferred vantage point to view marine life. But, if you’re looking for a whale watching tour, I’d highly recommend Stagnaro Charter Boats . Just be prepared for the worst and dress for the elements, suck on some ginger or slap on a motion sickness patch. Seeing those powerful, graceful whales in their environment is a thrill…and a blessing. 🙂


The good, the bad, the ugly...I can take it. Talk at me! :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s