Summer Whale & Sealife Excursion:
- May through November: The Humpback Whales frequent the Monterey Bay as their feeding grounds.
- Climb aboard and join us as we search the bay sanctuary for a variety of marine mammals including: Humpback Whales, Blue Whales, Dolphins, Sea Otters, Sea Lions and more
- December through April: The winter is Gray Whale season. The chance of sighting the Gray Whales at this time is very high, somewhere around 90%!
- 20,000 California Gray Whales pass through our bay waters on their annual winter migration from the cold arctic waters, to the warm lagoons of Baja Peninsula. You can get breathtaking close up views of these beautiful cetaceans. Sightings of dolphins and other marine mammals are also common. This is truly an Ocean Adventure for the whole family!
What Is Not Included?
You can also bring your own food and drinks on board, but no outside alcohol. Coolers longer than 20" in length are not allowed.
- What whale and dolphin sightings have you seen lately?
- Monday, November 18, 2013: Weekend Sightings Report... FRIDAY it was kind of quiet out there: We saw 2 humpback whales, 4 bottlenose dolphin and 8 otters. Lots of beautiful sea birds, too. We had gorgeous scenery and great company! On SATURDAY, things picked up. We saw seven humpback whales and a pod of bottlenose dolphin to start the trip as we headed out of the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor. Further out on Monterey Bay we saw a very large humpback whale at mid-distance showing us a good session of pec slapping . We also saw a few mother and calf pairs in the vicinity, good blows and flukes. But on SUNDAY, hey, everyone came to the party! We saw so many humpback whales it was hard to count – 50 whales at least. A few friendly whales approached the boat for a closer look. We also saw three types of dolphin at the same time: Risso’s dolphins, pacific white-sided dolphins and Northern right whale dolphins!
- When do the Whale Watching Trips run?
- Our trips are scheduled frequently throughout the year! Please check our calendar for upcoming events. Other marine life can also be seen on our inner bay 1 hour Scenic Cruise.
- Do you guarantee that I will sees whales on the cruise?
- We have a success rate of over 90% for sightings of whales and/or dolphins. Sea lions and otters are quite common in the bay. Mother nature can be elusive, but we will try our best.
- How long is the trip?
- Our trips may vary in length depending upon the time of year and where the whales are located. They can last between 3 and 4 hours, depending on where the animals are on a given day.
- What is the best time of the year to see whales?
- Anytime. We see different types of whales at different times throughout the year. Every trip is different. No two trips are alike.
- Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?
- Advance purchase is strongly recommended, and trips often sell out quickly. To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, please buy your tickets well in advance. Tickets can only be purchased with a Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
- Are children allowed?
- Yes, children are welcome to attend.
- Is this cruise suitable for pregnant women?
- For safety reasons, this cruise is not suitable for pregnant women. If you are pregnant and would like to attend anyway, you must first consult with your doctor.
- What happens if it rains?
- The trip runs rain or shine, regardless of weather conditions. But don't worry. Some of our best trips have taken place in less than perfect weather, so plan your attire accordingly. In the case of severe weather, we may cancel the activity up to an hour before the start time in which case you will be allowed to reschedule tickets (subject to availability) or receive credit for a future event.
- Can you make special arrangements for groups?
- We are able to accommodate groups of 10 or more who would like to go Whale Watching. If your group is interested in this trip, please click on the "Contact Stagnaros" link.
- What types of food and beverages are served in the full-service galley?
- You can purchase a variety of food and beverage items at the galley. For lunch/dinner, our selection includes cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza, quesadillas, cold-cut sandwiches, chips, popcorn, and candy. Our drink selection includes soda, bottled water, beer, and wine.
- I am planning on eating in the full service galley, how much money should I bring?
- Approximately $15.00 should cover the cost of your lunch, as well as some wine or beer.
- Can I bring my own food and/or beverages?
- Yes. You can bring your own food and beverages, but outside alcohol cannot be brought onto the boat. Please limit your cooler size to less than 20 inches. Beer and wine are available for purchase in the full service galley.
- Can I bring an ice chest?
- A small one for your food and beverages (no alcohol!). Coolers longer than 20" in length are not allowed, so as to not deprive yourself or everyone else of space.
- How close do we get to the whales?
- Once spotted we must stay back and maintain a respectful distance of a minimum of 100 yards then let the whale do what the whale wants. Sometimes they will be very friendly and approach us at which time the engines are shut down.
- Can I touch or swim with the whales?
- Unfortunately, no. We are there to observe and learn. Besides, our waters are too cold!
- Is there a bathroom on the boat?
- Yes, there is a restroom on the boat.
- What should I wear?
- Warm layered clothing and rubber soled shoes are best. It is always much cooler on the ocean than on land, so it is better to be over dressed than under dressed. Once you become comfortable you can always peel a layer off. If rain is in the forecast, a poncho or raincoat may be necessary.
- Will I get seasick?
- We sure hope not. Unfortunately, this is not something we can predict. While we can't recommend you take any medications, prevention might be a good idea if you are susceptible to motion sickness.
- Where does my trip end?
- Your trip will end in the exact place that it starts from.
- Where will we be going?
- In the winter, we follow the gray whale migration routes. During the summer, the whales are active 8-10 miles off the shore.
- Is the boat safe?
- Absolutely. In addition to modern safety equipment (EPIRB, Life Floats, Life Jackets, etc.) our vessels are constantly maintained and inspected twice a year by the United States Coast Guard, a Division of Homeland Security.
- Are there life jackets on the boat?
- Yes, there are life jackets for every adult and child on board. The location of the jackets is clearly posted and verbally announced by the skipper.
- Do I have to wear the life jacket?
- No. You may choose to wear a life jacket if you feel you need one.
- Is the boat wheelchair accessible?
- The boat is not wheelchair accessible, however, we will do all that we can to accommodate customer with disabilities. There are stairs leading the way to the entrance of the boat, so if you're willing to allow our crew to help you up the stairs, we'll gladly do so.
- Where does the boat depart from?
- Trips depart from the Santa Cruz West Harbor at Atlantic Avenue. HOWEVER, check-in for the trip happens at Stagnaro’s office at 500 7th Avenue, cross street is Eaton St. The staff will then direct you to the boat, which is about a five minute drive away. Don't worry - exact meeting location details and directions will be provided upon ticket purchase!
- How early should I arrive to check in before my trip?
- Please arrive AT LEAST 45 minutes before your trip begins. Remember to take traffic into account when making your plans, which is much heavier during the weekends and in the afternoons.
- Is there shade on the boat?
- Yes. Indoor seating and awnings are available if you need to get out of the sunlight.
- Will there be room on the boat to stow my belongings?
- There is a limited amount of space on the boat for your personal belongings. Please keep your coolers under 20 inches in length. Out of respect for your fellow passengers, please keep your personal items to a minimum.
- Are gift certificates available?
- Yes! Gift certificates for Stagnaro Charter Boats are great for any occasion. To purchase a gift certificate, click on the "Contact Stagnaros" link.
- Can I book a private trip?
- Yes! Stagnaro Charter Boats can accommodate a variety of special requests. For Group Discounts for up to 63 passengers, click on the "Contact Stagnaros" link for more information.
- Non-refundable, cannot be rescheduled.
- Once purchased, tickets cannot be refunded and cannot be rescheduled because your space is being guaranteed at the event.
- Activity may be cancelled due to severe weather.
- The activity usually runs in light rain and other moderate weather conditions, but the seller may cancel the activity up to an hour before the start time in the event of severe or unsafe weather conditions. If the seller cancels the event, ticket-holders will be allowed to reschedule tickets (subject to availability) or receive credit for a future event.
- Not suitable for pregnant women.
- Pregnant women are not advised to attend due to the inherent motion of the boat and safety precautions. If you are pregnant and would like to attend anyway, you must first consult with your doctor.
Stagnaro Charter Boats
This historical landmark business is still leading the way in ocean fun on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Today's fourth generation Stagnaro Charter Boats will surely make your trip fun and memorable.
PLEASE NOTE AS OF 2010 WE LEAVE ONLY FROM THE SANTA CRUZ YACHT HARBOR F-DOCK! USE 789 MARINER PARK WAY, SANTA CRUZ, CA AS A GPS LOCATION. WE ARE NO LONGER ON THE WHARF.