In Monterey Bay every season is whale watching season! There’s a 95% chance you’ll see a whale any month of the year. Generally, humpback whales are observed feeding in the bay March through December and Gray whales are seen migrating December through May. Blue whale sightings vary each year but your best bet is July and August. Sightings of killer whales (orcas) and several different species of dolphins are possible year round.
Yes, we guarantee whale sightings! The chance of seeing a whale on a trip is 95%. Don’t see a whale? Come back for free until you do. Even if we see dolphins and no whales you still get a voucher to come back for free. And yes, we consider killer whales “whales” even if they are the largest of the dolphin species 😉
Most trips are 3-4 hours. Shorter and longer trips are added throughout the year depending on the recent proximity of whales to Moss Landing Harbor. See our calendar to view trip dates, times and duration.
Yes! Whale watching is a great activity for families. We even have a “Kid’s Corner” on board with books and toys. For safety reasons however, pregnant women and children under 4 years are not permitted as the Monterey Bay can be subject to rough offshore conditions without warning. If you have concerns about bringing small children on the boat, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
High Spirits is Coast Guard certified to carry 47 passengers and 3 crew members. There is plenty of space indoors and out. An indoor cabin with large panoramic windows, a wide bow area outside in the front as well as a top “observation deck” with a 360 degree view (18yrs+ allowed on top deck for safety reasons).
- Due to COVID-19 we have reduced our capacity to ~30% capacity
Yes! In addition to our weekly whale watching tours, Blue Ocean Whale Watch allows you to customize your own trips any day of the week.
- School Trips
- Corporate Adventures
- Burials at Sea/Ash Scatterings
- Weddings, Parties, Special Events
- Photography Groups
We abide by all marine mammal protection laws and maintain a 100 yard distance from whales. Whales have their own rules, however, and often change course approach the boat as close as they want. Dolphins regularly seek out our boat to ride our bow wave and wake. We are extremely mindful of the animals and do not approach too closely, follow them from behind or cut in front of their path. Close encounters with the animals must be on their terms, not ours.
How far we go depends on where we find whales and that changes every day. We’ll sometimes have whales right outside the Moss Landing Harbor mouth and sometimes have to travel 12+ miles before we see any whales at all. The distribution of the food whales eat moves around and the whales follow where it goes.
Trips will go ahead as scheduled if there is a chance of rain in the forecast. We don’t run trips in heavy storms so the rain we experience is usually on the lighter side. There is plenty of space indoors to escape from the elements if need be. We typically only cancel trips if sea conditions are too rough, not if it’s raining. In the event of a cancellation on our end, a full refund is given or the trip is rescheduled.
Dressing warmly and in layers is highly recommended. The air is always cooler on the bay so come prepared. Closed toed shoes and windbreakers are a good idea. Watch the forecast and bring a rain jacket if necessary.
Yes, we have a very clean bathroom on board.
Our boat is certified and inspected yearly by the U.S. Coast Guard. We carry all the necessary items required by the Coast Guard to insure your safety: EPIRB, Life Floats, Life Jackets, fire extinguishers, etc.
The boat is not wheelchair accessible as there are stairs leading up to the entrance of the boat.
Morning trips are generally better because sea conditions are calmest which allows us to maneuver the boat to sightings more easily and comfortably. However whales can be observed any time of the day.
Yes! We have a very roomy cabin which is fully protected from the elements. Our boat is very tall which also reduces/eliminates the amount of spray that comes on board.
We sell coffee, tea, cocoa, sodas, water, and snack items like chips, candy, breakfast bars, instant lunches etc. Bringing cash is recommended. You are also welcome to bring your own food, but please no glass containers.
*Due to COVID-19 we will not be offering a snack bar at this time but you are still welcome to bring your own food and drink*
Yes. If you are going to be buying from the snack bar, it is recommended you bring approximately $10 in cash.
*Due to COVID-19 we will not have snacks available for sale on board but you can bring your own food and drink*
We do not sell alcohol on board but you are welcome to bring your own.
Parking is available right by the dock in the Moss Landing Harbor parking lot. Parking permits are $8.00 for the day and may be purchased from the Harbor Master’s Office. There is also limited street parking on Moss Landing Road and Sandholdt Road which is free (about a 10 minute walk to the dock).
Yes, there is plenty of space on board to stow your belongings.
No, smoking is not permitted on our trips.
We hope not! If you know you are prone to seasickness, it is advised to take precautions before boarding. We do offer ginger ale on board which may help some people with seasickness.
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