Year round whale watching in Monterey Bay is only one reason many people consider Monterey the whale watching capitol of the world. This magnificent submarine canyon is one of America’s most spectacular marine protected areas and was designated as a national marine sanctuary in 1992. With 4,601 square nautical miles of ocean extending an average distance of 30 miles off shore and more than 2 miles deep, it is one of the largest marine sanctuaries, is larger than Yellowstone National Park and rivals the depth of the Grand Canyon!
The steep walls of the submarine canyon were formed by an underwater erosion process that is still taking place today. Because of the steep walls, there is a regular process of upwelling, in which cold water from the depths arise to the surface. This process provides an incredible amount of food for the wide diversity of animal life that live and/or migrate through the bay. This abundance of nutrients that thrive in the giant kelp forests consist of dead organic matter such as algae, phyto plankton and zoo plankton. This is critical in supporting the ecosystem which is a solid foundation for the food chain from fish and whales that feed on krill up to the bigger species such as the killer whale that feeds on other whales.
Very few submarine canyons reach as close to shore as the Monterey Bay Submarine Canyon which allows guests to get an up close and personal look at these beautiful creatures in the wild. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary offers some of the best wildlife viewing in the world!
Learn more in this video from naturalist Gina as she explains why year round whale watching in Monterey Bay attracts such diversity.