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Monterey Bay Canyon


Learn More About Monterey Bay

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 contains a wide range of habitats, they contain incredible diversity in 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!

Fast Facts

  • 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 longshore 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).

Why Choose Moss Landing for Whale Watching on Monterey Bay?

We’re so glad you asked! There are so many reasons to choose Moss Landing and Sea Goddess for Whale Watching Monterey Bay. Here are our Top 10 reasons.

  1. Located at the mouth of the Submarine Canyon abundant with rich nutrients means less travel time and more whale watching time. Monterey and Santa Cruz whale excursion companies can both take up to an hour to find the whales – we have found them in as little as 10 minutes! Check out our TripAdvisor and YELP reviews.
  2. Sea Goddess is the most pristine boat in the harbor. NOT used as a fishing boat, our boat is clean, not smelly, comfortable, and is kept in impeccable condition with our passengers in mind. It is also used for private charters such as weddings, special events, and other celebrations.
  3. Naturalists who are dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in both education and research and are passionate and enthusiastic in educating our passengers and answering questions.
  4. Sea Goddess has plenty of space to walk around the entire boat, even with passengers sitting on the outside benches. You are not stuck in one spot if the whales show up on the other side of the boat!
  5. Year-round whale watching.
  6. Moss Landing has an abundant sea otter population.
  7. Located next to the Elkhorn Slough waterway, which is recognized as a Globally Important Bird Area and Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve.
  8. Typically less fog than Monterey.
  9. A quaint, historic fishing village – Moss Landing is truly a hidden treasure, home to many antique shops, art galleries, and fantastic seafood and other restaurants!
  10. Plenty of parking at only $10/day close to loading dock.