Whale Watching in Moss Landing

I’ve been wanting to go whale watching for years. This mother’s day, I decided to stealthily plant the idea with my husband that this would make the perfect gift/family activity.  It could even count for my birthday, too!  I started by telling him every week or so how many whales were hanging out in Moss Landing, doing acrobatics for the tourists.  I mentioned, ever so subtly, what a good year it was to go whale watching.  A few weeks later, I asked my little spies if anything had been discussed.  Fail.

My hints got broader.  “Look, babe, it’s on Groupon!” and “Wow, whale watching in Iceland looks amazing.  Or, we could go to Moss Landing here in California.”


With two days until mother’s day and things looking bleak, I decided to stop dancing around the issue and laid it all out.  “Please, please, I am begging you, get this for me.  Here’s the link.  Big Husband Points.  Please.”

And off we went to Moss Landing to go on our first ever whale watching trip!  We went with Sea Goddess Whale Watching because they were so highly rated, and because their location in Monterey Bay with a sudden drop-off so close to shore meant typically lots of whales relatively close by.   They did not disappoint.  I opted for the morning trip.  It comes with donuts.  And calmer seas, but the donuts were the kicker for the kids.  I researched all kinds of dramamine options for Ry and Ally, because we’ve had some motion sickness issues in the past and I wanted them to love this trip.  Dramamine, any variety, makes me insanely drowsy, and I figured I’d be fine.   Sea Goddess has one of the largest boats in the harbor, so I thought I’d hardly feel any rocking at all.

Donut in hand, big smiles on faces, we boarded the Goddess and found a seat.  The inner cabin has a huge monitor so kids can see everything the captain is seeing, a very high-grade fish finder, if you will, but for whales.  We hadn’t even left the harbor before the captain started calling out “Humpback!”

As we journey farther out to sea, the whales are everywhere.  We stopped running from side to side around the boat, because they were on both sides, gifting us with the classic fluke shots and blowholes.  The captain and the on-board marine biologist tell us all about whale breath (I’ll save that little joy for you to experience on your own) and the many kinds of marine birds we’re seeing.

About this time, I’m regretting my donut.  And my decision not to take Dramamine.  And possibly my pleading to go whale watching.  The Goddess is a large vessel, but apparently I can get seasick on a boat of any size.  Who knew? I’m also so very thankful that we’re on a boat with an actual bathroom, and that I’m not about to embarrass myself over the side with 90 onlookers.

Just as I throw my camera to my husband, make a mad dash for said bathroom and violently divest myself of breakfast, I hear gasps of shock and awe, a little screaming, and “That’s the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my life!”  People are clapping and cheering, I can hear the clicks of nearly 100 people posting their Snap Chats, and then a massive splash.  A roughly 60,000 pound humpback whale, one of the largest mammals alive, performed a full breach for our boat, complete with an artistic twist.

I will never again pass on the dramamine.

I can’t promise you a breach if you happen to venture out to the Monterey Bay for some whale watching.  I can’t even promise a whale sighting, though the Sea Goddess will refund your money or book you on another tour if you don’t see whales or dolphins, they’re that confident.  I can guarantee (if you’re not terribly seasick and stubborn about dramamine) that you will have a blast.  It’s such a thrill being this close to something so huge and majestic.  They glide all around the boat, barely shifting the water even when their tales flip and curl at the surface.  And if you are very lucky indeed, you can witness a mammal roughly the size of a small bus leap out of the water in front of you.  If you’re not in the bathroom.



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