Monterey Bay, CA Fast Raft Whale Watching Tour Review

Whale watching was such an incredible experience! I am so thrilled to have finally realized this dream after our tour got canceled due to inclement weather nearly two and a half years ago. Our last trip to Monterey was so beautiful, we just had to come back for the whales. 

I relish the kind of adventures that make me feel small. Seeing humpback whales out on the Pacific made my personal problems seem miniscule by comparison. 

It is truly awesome to feel like you are nothing compared to the vastness of nature. And yet, when in these moments, I feel blessed to be a part of something, a world, a universe, a brief encounter so wonderful and so beyond my own frail existence.


In Monterey Bay, our guide, Captain Kate, was brilliant. She was familiar with several of the whales, knowing their nicknames and some of their life histories. Kate could readily answer any question thrown her way with an extensive knowledge of the wild life beyond just the whales. 

When we spotted an ocean sunfish, Kate immediately shared all kinds of facts about them. She knew where to look for sea lions, otters, sea nettle jellyfish, and a number of sea birds. 

It was really cool to see sea lions fishing in groups, doing flips out of the water, and laying all over each other on an ocean buoy.

I loved being out on the ocean! We went out about 10 miles from the shore; I had never been so far away from land before and that was magical on its own.

And we were lucky enough to see six humpback whales on our tour. They were so close we could smell their breath! The scent wasn’t pleasant but it was exciting to be so near them. 

The last whales we encountered were a mother and baby (nicknamed Angel Wings and Halo) who were relaxing and swimming along with a third whale (nicknamed Snowy Owl).

Fun fact: A whale’s nickname comes from the distinct markings in his or her flukes.

I felt giddy when I saw the trio swimming towards our little boat. They got pretty close before diving under us. Then later, I gasped as Halo breached, leaping full body out of the water! I had been hoping to see a whale breach and I was not disappointed. Those enormous, graceful animals are breathtaking!


We didn't get any pictures of the whales, because we were to busy enjoying their presence.

Captain Kate said that Halo is 9 months old and he typically gains 100 pounds a day. Angel Wings produces 100 gallons of milk for him every single day! Humpback whale milk is as thick as soft-serve ice cream, and the mother has muscles to push the milk out for baby to gobble up in the water. A nursing whale often loses up to 40% of her mass from feeding her baby!

I got a little seasick while we slowly followed the whales, but it was worth it. I loved being on the little boat in the big ocean, near some big whales. When our tour was done, I said, “Let’s go again tomorrow!” 

We didn't get to go out the next day, but there are so many other species to see in the Bay like blue whales and orcas! So, we really need to get out on the ocean again. 

Tip: if you are prone to seasickness, take Dramamine before your tour, or ask your doctor about a prescription for Zofran.

My husband and I went to Monterey Bay specifically to see whales, and we specifically chose to go with Fast Raft because of a very positive review I stumbled upon while planning our first trip to Monterey. 


Fast Raft boat pulling up to Moss Landing

A typical whale watching tour costs less than Fast Raft, but then you are on a big boat which is often crowded, and high above the water. Our unique tour involved zooming out to sea in a 30 foot ocean raft. We were right there in the water, level with the whales, and we didn't have to press through a crowd at a boat railing to see them. 

Captain Kate continually contributes to research about whales in the area. She records her sightings of them and shares her photos of them to help monitor their migrations, breeding habits, and population. Thanks to her help and that of many others, awareness of the ocean wildlife’s conditions has improved significantly. In the last couple decades, humpback whale population has increased at a rate of 7% every year!

A whale watching tour is an opportunity to gain a firsthand appreciation for the magnificent animals that inhabit our oceans. Such an appreciation has a great effect on a person’s everyday choices. These expeditions also enable people like Captain Kate to continue their research.

I sincerely hope you go whale watching someday, wherever that may be. It’s not just something to check off your bucket list. It’s something I wish I could do almost every single day!

Hi! My name is Kait. Follow this link to learn more about me and my blog.


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