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Photo Credit  Lyrinda Snyderman

The most challenging part of planning a kayak excursion is deciding where to go.  If you’re ready for an open water paddling experience, kayaking is an exhilarating way to explore Monterey Bay offering an incredible perspective of marine wildlife and stunning coastal scenery.

kayaking Monterey BayThis kayaker's paradise is about a two hour drive south from San Francisco and the Bay Area.  You can't beat the scenery in Monterey, where the climate is mild year-round. Summer mornings can be a bit overcast but calm which is wonderful for wildlife viewing. The best time of day to paddle is in the morning when it is usually a little calmer. The late afternoon can be nice as well when the wind dies down, though strong afternoon winds can pick-up quickly.

Monterey Bay is sheltered and the atmosphere is peaceful, making it an extraordinary place for a paddling getaway. A good place to start an exploration is along the Monterey and Pacific Grove shore, from Fisherman's wharf to Lover's point. This area is inside Monterey Bay and is calm and protected.  

Wildlife abounds in this remarkable setting.   Paddlers can view seals and otters frolicking in the sun and swimming beneath your kayak. Seals can get overly curious and climb up on the kayak decks. If you keep a close eye out, you may catch a glimpse of leopard sharks and bat rays too. Lucky paddlers may see dolphins as they playfully cruise along the shoreline dancing in the waves.  Sea lions perch on rock outcropping and starfish cling to the sides of rocks. Seals have pups in the spring so avoid paddling too close to minimize disturbance.  

The bay is an important habitat for coastal birds, fish, and marine mammals like sea lions, harbor seals, and sea otter that feed and play in the protection of the kelp beds. Soaring cormorants, seagulls, pelicans, sandpipers, loons, and grebes glide overhead.

 kayaking monterey bay

You may catch a variety of species kayak fishing on the bay including salmon, rockfish, lingcod, mackerel, surfperch, smelt, halibut, or squid. Catches vary from year to year depending upon variables such as ocean and weather conditions.  Depending on the current season, kayakers can try their luck at salmon, albacore, giant squid, lingcod, halibut, rockfish and white seabass. Don't get in harm’s way of aggressive wildlife, especially sea lions, seagulls and pelicans that may try to steal your bait or catch. 

 Monterey Bay also offers superb year-round whale watching to observe the abundance of whales and dolphins dwelling in the bay. Deep water species of whales, dolphins, as well as shallow water species, such as the gray whale, are found near the shore in the narrow shelf region.  There are several whale watching operations and sport fishing charter boats in Monterey Bay.

 

 

 

 

 
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