Monterey Bay Canyon otherwise known as Monterey Submarine Canyon, is comparable in depth to the Grand Canyon, and is the largest submarine canyon along the coast of North America. Because submarine canyons extend from shallow waters of the continental shelf to the deep sea which contain a wide range of habitats, they contain an incredible diversity or organisms. This is why Whale Watching Monterey Bay is known to some as the Whale Watching Capital of the World!
As one of the deepest canyons on the west coast, the canyon head lies just offshore of Moss Landing, the departure point of Sea Goddess, the ideal location for spotting whales quickly with less travel time and more whale watching time.
If the water was drained from Monterey Bay, the newly revealed terrain would be stunning, with cliffs, gorges, valleys, and spires matching the scenery found in some of our most beautiful national parks.
Monterey Canyon begins at Moss Landing, the middle of the Monterey Bay, making Sea Goddess Whale Watching the ideal departure point allowing us to travel a short distance south to Monterey or north towards Santa Cruz, wherever the whales are feeding for the day!
Deepest Point: 12,713 feet or 3,250 meters in the Monterey Bay Submarine Canyon
Average Ocean Surface Temperature: 55°F (13°C)
Marine Mammals: 34 species
Fishes: at least 525 species
Turtles: 4 species
Seabirds and Shorebirds: more than 180 species
Invertebrates: 31 phyla
Marine algae: 450-plus species
Historical Sites: 1,276 reported shipwrecks and 718 prehistoric sites
The canyon’s depth of about 1 mile and nutrient availability, due to the regular invasion of nutrient-rich sediment, provide an ideal habitat for many marine life forms that play in their underwater park. This nutrient-rich sediment is deposited in the axes of the submarine canyons carried by long shore currents and contains organic material providing nutrients to deep-sea organisms. It is also deposited on the canyon floor from canyon walls through submarine landslides and other events including storms, earthquakes, surf, sea conditions, and tides.
Submarine canyons contain a wide range of habitats and diverse organisms due to their extension from shallow water of the continental shelf to the deep sea. For more information on the fascinating geology of Monterey Bay including its mapping and science, visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MDARI).
Guaranteed whale or dolphin sighting or your next trip is FREE!