Monterey Bay: Marvel at Whale Majesty

Can't make the end-of-January party? The beloved mammals'll still be around.

THERE'S ALWAYS A BIT OF STRESS... when a friend invites you to a party but you simply can't make it. Life pressures, important errands, and other commitments keep you away from the fun-having, and all you can do is send your regrets. There is, however, no stress to be had over not making Whalefest Monterey, the last-weekend-in-January hoedown that's built around the behemoths of the sea. For here is a pretty widely known secret: The famous migrating mammals'll still be around, even after the last booth is packed and the last festival tour is done. They rather like the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and they'll still be in the house — er, ocean — should landlubbers want to swing by and see if they can catch a peek. Speaking of peeks, or, rather, peaks, it is currently...

"PEAK OF GRAY WHALE MIGRATION..." 'round the historic city, which also rocks a memorable nickname: "Whale Watching Capital of the World." The migrating action is on into April, with a change of direction due around the middle of February, when the baleen beasties make their way up north once again (like they've done, well, forever). You might see other whales beyond the iconic Grays, including Orcas, which have been known to frequent the area. Just find your boat, and company, and then stock up on sunscreen, sea sickness meds (should you need 'em), and those all-important layers, as it stays chilly out on the water, even into April. 

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