I have always been fascinated by whales but never had chance to see these beautiful creates close up until I went to California in November 2016. Before that my whale sightings were restricted to viewing killer whales at SeaWorld Orlando.

Before I left for California, I did a lot of researching and reading of reviews which lead me to choose Princess Monterey Whale Watching Cruises. I was impressed by the number of positive reviews they had and also that they had a diary of sighting which suggested that they managed to see whales and dolphins most days. On that note, there’s no guarantee that you will see anything, it really is luck of the draw.

Booking was easy and done via Zerve. I also paid extra to be on the top of the boat which is well worth it as you get a much better view and a better line of sight when taking pictures.

Princess Monterey Whale Watching cruises depart from Old Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey. There’s a host of parking options all within a 5 to 10 minute walk away. Old Fisherman’s Wharf is a great place to take in all the sights of hovering seagulls and frolicking seals. It’s also a great place to smell and taste some of the best and freshest seafood on the West Coast. I for one wasn’t going to miss the chance to sample a bowl of Clam Chowder soup.

I opted for the afternoon trip which lasted around three hours. On leaving the harbour, I was treated to some great views of sea lions. harbour seals and shortly after that, I was lucky enough to see dolphins swimming alongside the boar for five minutes or so. All in all it takes around 45 minutes to get out to Monterey Bay and the chance to see whales.

It certainly was my lucky day. I was treated to some breathtaking views of four humpback whales over some 45 minutes before it was time to head back to Monterey. And again yet more dolphins on the way back.

Getting the perfect picture of whales and dolphins is a tricky business.

I saw many people on the boat trying to take pictures with smartphones and tablets and to be honest, they’re going to be disappointed when they see the results. If possible use a DSLR Camera with a good telephoto lens on it. The pictures you see on this blog were taken with my trusty Sony DSLR with a 70 – 300mm telephoto lens. The pictures were then further enhanced using Adobe Photoshop Elements 12.

The secret is also to be very patient. Whales only surface every five minutes or so and then only for between 5 and 10 seconds! The best advice I could give is concentrate on the area where a whale is to focus your camera and then wait until the whale pops up again before taking your picture. It’s also best to take as many pictures as you can as chances are that somewhere in your shoot you’ll have something that looks really great. Also as there’s usually other whale watching boats in the area, it’s worth keeping an eye on them. That’s what I did to get this shot!

All in all I really enjoyed this trip and was thrilled with what I saw and the photo’s I took during my afternoon of whale watching in Monterey Bay.

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