Yes you may recognise the name and photo above from MTV’s Catfish and yes Nev and Max did stand right there!! Monterey Bay is a beautiful seaside town situated down the West Coast just after San Francisco and before Los Angeles and is honestly the most picturesque place I have ever been too. Arriving in this beautiful town, I couldn’t believe my luck. Although small, it is is full of quaint shops, gorgeous restaurants and home to the most spectacular marine life on this planet. We only had a 2 night stay but wasting time in Monterey sleeping or eating is just not possible when there is so much to see!
We had already planned our whale watching boat trip before leaving London as when researching everywhere urged you to book ahead of your visit as these were the most popular tours. We booked our tickets around 2 weeks before we were due to have our boat trip as we had an eye on the weather and wanted to make sure it would be warm enough for the trip to go ahead. We booked online with Monterey Bay Whale Watch where they advise that the Killer Whale season is best around April and May (we were there on May 16th). The day trip is $49 and lasts for 4 hours starting at 9am. Our morning was particularly windy and the sea looked quite rough so the staff at the Whale Watch Centre advised that they were waiting for a weather warning from the captain and we might not be going if it was bad the further out to sea we went. Popping the sea sickness pills, we both prepared ourselves for the worst and to be honest, the sea was rather rough. But we set out anyway and the nausea was so incredibly worth it.
The Killer Whales spotted here, gradually appeared in the distance but after turning the boat towards them, they almost fell in sync beside us. In total there were around 8 Killer Whales and a tiny baby calf that surrounded the boat. There just doesn’t seem enough words to describe and justify what this moment was like. They seemed so peaceful in their surroundings and the team and the boat really respected their space and boundaries due to the baby they had with them.
During the months of April and May, the centre say that you are guaranteed to see the Killer Whales and other marine life. We were lucky enough to see sea lions as we left the marina, dolphins as we went further out, a Grey Whale in the far distance and a rare species of Albatros flying around the boat. Being in close proximity with these creatures is so mesmerising that this trip cannot be missed. However, please wrap up warm! I was absolutely freezing and just didn’t seem to warm up for the rest of the day after! Also if you get sea sickness, I would recommend speaking to someone through their website or giving them a call (link below) as the water really was choppy and it is hard not to feel ill at points. Maybe this wouldn’t be the case in the warmer summer months but it’s best just to check in case. Ready salted crisps really help too so be sure to take a large pack of those to settle any sea sickness!
Visit the link below for all Monterey Whale Watching info: http://www.montereybaywhalewatch.com/KillerWhaleSeasonWhaleWatch.htm
Where to Stay: We stayed for 2 nights at the beautiful Hotel Abrego which is only 5 blocks away from Fisherman’s Wharf and 6 blocks from Monterey’s local beach. They have complimentary parking and other lovely amenities such as outdoor pools and a spa tub.
Where to Eat:
Boardwalk Sub Shop – All different kinds of subs, toasties and salads and set in the cute surroundings of the village of Monterey Bay.
Rosine’s – Italian restaurant with adorable waiters and an amazing spaghetti bolognese. Their chocolate cake is also famous and huge! Take it away and eat it in bed just like I did after a day out at sea!
Denny’s – Now a trip to the US isn’t complete without a stop in Denny’s classic American Diner and this was literally opposite our hotel. Go for breakfast and order the pancakes – yes they are massive but you get to box everything and these were perfect snacks for our long drive to Los Angeles.