In March 2014 I wrote a post on webcam views of Monterey Bay from Santa Cruz to Monterey. Since then some cams are no longer operating and a few have changed views. In December 2015 I added some updates about what’s still working and what’s not.
This post updates that update with a few new webcams and a focus on my current favorites. My chosen webcam views are mostly for kayakers, paddleboarders, small boaters (more accurately boaters with small boats) and coast walkers. Surfers and sailors are usually looking for different conditions.
My newest discoveries offer good views of the Monterey Harbor. These are now favorites because this is where I kayak and walk the most, and it’s great to see the conditions before I set out.
The Portola Hotel in downtown Monterey has a
cam overlooking the Custom House Plaza, Monterey Harbor, Museum of Monterey, Fisherman’s Wharf I & II, and the breakwater. This is the best (and only) view of an iconic Monterey hub. It’s especially nice at dawn or dusk, and before or after storms. (Special events often held on the Plaza are fun to watch, too.)
The second new webcam is at the Breakwater Cove Marina on Cannery Row. It zooms in and out while scanning the water (which is awesome) from San Carlos Beach at the start of the breakwater all the way to the end of the breakwater and across the mouth of Monterey Harbor, then back again. It tends to start and stop for some reason. Also, unfortunately, there are a lot of ads (which I have no problem with if they’re not annoying — but many are. Plus, I have to search sometimes for the Monterey Bay link because ads block access.). Still the view is worthwhile. (A Taste of Monterey farther down Cannery Row used to have an equally good water view, but that cam has been down for a while.)
Now to my other favorites…
The best mid-bay webcam is SeaOtters.com’s Live Sea Otter & Sea Lion Cam. It offers changing views of Moss Landing, an active fishing harbor, with its colonies of sea otters, harbor seals and sea lions, plus shorebirds. This cam also regularly spots people in the act of harassing marine mammals. These kayakers are getting pretty close to resting sea otters. The general rule of thumb is that if the animals’ behavior is not changed by your presence, you’re doing okay. When a sea otter or harbor seal looks your way and moves away, you’re too close. Not only is harassment rude, plus stressful to wild animals, it’s also against the law. It’s strongly recommended that if you witness any harassment of protected marine mammals to report it to CalTIP at 1-888-334-2258 or NOAA at 1-800-853-1964.
Finally, I like this Capitola beach view near the north end of the bay. From here you can watch the surf, and on a clear day, see all the way to Monterey. This webcam (and the one of Monterey Harbor) are brought to you by HDOnTap, which has live webcams showing amazing views from around the country (like Donner Lake dusted with snow). So, if you can’t get outside, or are preparing to go out, take a virtual look.