Back in October we spent a few days in California following at trip to Maui. We wanted a few days between flights to break up the lengthy journey back to LHR and so figured it was time to step onto West Coast US soil and see what everyone was raving about.

We were based in San Francisco but rented a car that gave us access to the Pacific coast highway and everything it has to offer. Our first stop had to be Monterey. A beautiful coastal town, abundant with sea life and more clam chowder shacks than one human could ever possibly need.

Monterey Bay Whale Watching

Both Mr B and I are fond admirers of sea life and totally swept away by the magic of the ocean. We've been fortunate enough to go on quite a few Whale watching trips now and I'm sure in the future we will try to go on many more. In Monterey, this was our most anticipated excursion and the whole reason that this location was pinned to our map way back in 2015. The Bay is famous for it's access to view some of nature's greatest creatures in the wild.

We booked up with Monterey Bay Whale Watch, a marine biologist led tour that is educationally orientated. And these guys did not disappoint. Such a wealth of knowledge and passion amongst our crew!

The Bay area itself is stunning. The fisherman's wharf is a lively little harbour filled with charm. Sea Lions take a snooze on the docks, boats bopping away in their beds, coffee shops littered with people taking in the sea air - everything you'd want from a little seaside town.

As you head up to Cannery Row, the buildings get more and more beautiful. The streets are lined with restaurants and shops selling little seaside nic nacs - we all love to have a look around those.

Unfortunately, I've let you down and forgotten to photograph around the town - I was a little distracted by its enchantment. You'll have to forgive me.


After grabbing a coffee from a lovely little tea shop we headed out on the boat. There were plenty of sea lions to greet us!

If you get past their booming sound and fragrant aroma - these guys are brilliant. We did have a good chuckle at their expense with their silly behaviour and crazy squabbles - We saw both California Sea Lions and Steller Sea Lions on our trip.

With this trip heading out so early, the air was chilly but the sky provided us a moody treat.

The view in the direction of Carmel-on-sea was beautiful. Rolling hills and crazy skies. This trip was worth it, purely to see the pacific coast from an alternative perspective.

Just a short while into our journey, we had yet more company. Dolphin. Not just the odd one... Our guide estimated around 300! A mixture of common dolphin and Risso's Dolphin. Overwhelmed by them all, I just stood back silently and watched as everyone on the boat ooo'd and ahhh'd. I may have had a little tear or two quietly hehe - Like i've said before. I am more often overwhelmed than under :P

As we journeyed on Ben and I spotted a humpback in the distance breaching but our captain headed in a different direction. Humpback can be observed frequently in these waters, he'd spotted something more appealing - three Fin whales together! (These guys are the second biggest whale on the planet!) It's not often you are spoilt for choice on this type of trip.

And sure enough, as we edged closer, I could see the spouts!

Previously, we'd seen a fair few dolphin and a false killer whale, but this was our first 'real' whale sighting. It lived up to every dream I'd ever had about sighting them - they were unbelievable. 

Happy with our find we cruised along for an hour or so with many more sightings, humpback in the distance, some flying fish, an ocean sunfish, an albatross, a pelican and four blue shark! It's funny. Having seen such a large whale, the shark seem so small in comparison against the backdrop of the big blue. Jaws who?!

And then the dream took a turn for 'crazy'. One of the crew spotted a spout in the distance. A spout at an angle. This is the sign of a sperm whale due to the positioning of their blow hole. Like something out of an action film, we started zooming across the water headed for the unknown. "I saw another" somebody would shout, "I can't see it" would be shouted back. "There it is again!" rang from the bow.

Then it was gone.

Out of sheer determination we waited on that spot for an hour. One of the biologists had never seen a sperm whale in the wild and was desperate to get a glimpse. As were we all. The problem with these guys is they come up for air and go down for huge lengths of time and sometimes travel great distances before surfacing again. But the crew didn't let up. We waited patiently. The whole boat silent or whispering - for an hour! 

Then....we spotted her! I could see it from the distance just resting on the surface of the water. We got closer and spied her balancing on the surface. A few spouts and she took in her last breath - with a huge dive, her fluke came out of the water and she was gone!

The biologist that finally got his wish cried. It was a crazy, crazy moment.

High from the experience, we headed back to the harbour with our memories. 


Next stop...

Monterey Bay Aquarium

This aquarium is a must. These pictures do not explain the scale of these exhibits. I would go as far as to say that you may never need to visit another aquarium again after a trip here.

My favourite bit of the whole experience had to be the jellyfish. It's like stepping into a different world!

As you can see by my expression, I was like a child in here.

And if I didn't think the exhibits could get any bigger, I reached the final destination. 'The Open Sea'. It was mind bogglingly immense!

Mr B clearly approved!

Apart from the clam chowder overkill, there is nothing I would count as a negative in Monterey Bay - except for maybe not being smart enough to visit for longer! It's a location I can definitely see us returning to in the future and one I would highly recommend when visiting the West Coast.

Quite the spectacular finale to end the marine focused leg of our trip. 

- MTWP xxx

comments powered by Disqus