Endless Ways to Experience the Bay

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary has always been one of the world’s greatest natural experiences. It’s unique configuration, including the 10,000 ft. deep Monterey Bay Submarine Canyon creates an environment that teems with thousands of species of fish, birds and mammals and other ocean dwelling creatures. So beloved is this aquatic wonder, that the sanctuary will be the subject of the Big Blue Live broadcast produced by the BBC and aired on PBS August 31 through September 2 at 8pm PT.

For those of us, however, that prefer to experience the Monterey Bay “hands on”, we’ve got some great ideas to get you out and into the Great Big Blue!

We’ll start slow with whale watching excursions from Princess Monterey Whale Watching based out of historic Fisherman’s Wharf. Princess specializes in narrated, guided tours with a focus on the biology, environment and natural history of the local marine wildlife. The narration comes from Princess’ own marine biologists/naturalists with a special emphasis on whales! It’s Humpback Whale migration season and with the warmer Pacific Waters, the activity is incredible.

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Princess Monterey Whale Watching located on Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, CA.

Moving up the action ladder slightly are Standup Paddle Boarding and Kayaking from Adventures by the Sea and Monterey Bay Kayak. Both offer hourly and daily rentals of single and tandem kayaks and stand up paddle boards. They also offer guided tours and packages for groups, which make a great event for wedding parties, corporate retreats or team building exercises. Do a quick search of the internet to see some of the up close and personal encounters with whales and dolphins!

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Adventures by the Sea Kayaks out enjoying the Monterey Bay

If you are in the need for a new experience, check out one of the newer offerings on the Monterey Bay, Fast Raft Ocean Safaris. Their daily Whale Watching Safaris out of Moss Landing explore and take in the sights and sounds of whales, dolphins, sea otters, and seabirds.  The tours are generally leisurely, though the boat is fast and nimble enough to get them to distant sightings quickly. The captains and naturalists are well versed in the wildlife of the Monterey Bay Natural Marine Sanctuary and provide in-depth information throughout the experience.

Want to get into the water? Then are next two suggestions are for you. Experiencing the Monterey Bay through one of the oldest water sports in the world is something that beginners and experts alike can attest to. Surf rentals can be found at On The Beach Surf Shop in Monterey, while surf lessons can be scheduled through Carmel Surf Lessons. From small ankle high ripples to the bigger breaks the area is famous for, surfing the Bay is a memory that will last a lifetime.

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Surf Carmel Beach

To truly experience the vast grandeur of the Pacific Ocean, you’ve got to really get into it and that means scuba diving. Monterey Bay has world renowned diving locations but for those who are not experts, the area offers several beginner’s courses. Both Monterey Bay Scuba Tours and Bamboo Reef Dive Shop offer group and individual instruction that will prepare you for something remarkable.

So if you are a visitor or a local with an itch to try something new, like the many types of ocean creatures that inhabit these waters, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary offers something unique for one and all. The Great Big Blue looks good on everyone!

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