Kayaking and Paddleboarding at Breakwater Cove in Monterey Bay

The Best Wildlife Viewing From Kayak or Paddleboard in Monterey Bay

Breakwater Cove is right at the center of Monterey Bay’s coastal activity. Situated at the beginning of Cannery Row, the Breakwater Cove boat launch is within walking distance to Fisherman’s Wharf, the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Monterey’s beaches. While tourists walk the coastline to experience the beauty of the Monterey Bay, it doesn’t take kayakers and paddleboarders long to want to be in the water exploring and viewing wildlife from kayak or board in Monterey Bay. Here’s a guide to your first kayaking and paddleboarding experience out of Breakwater Cove in Monterey Bay.

Putting-In: The Boat Launch at Breakwater Cove

Kayaking at Breakwater Cove
The Boat Launch at Breakwater Cove Monterey Bay. © by Michael Weber (click photo to enlarge)

Logistically speaking, kayaking and paddleboarding in Monterey Bay is a pretty easy endeavor. Virtually anywhere that you are able to park right by a path down to the water is a potential put-in, and those are plentiful. However, there is perhaps no easier situation than parking at the boat launch right at Breakwater Cove on Cannery Row to go kayaking and paddleboarding in Monterey Bay. There is plenty of parking and launching a kayak from the boat launch is a breeze.

Where to Paddle From the Coast Guard Pier in Monterey Bay

Kayaking along the Monterey Bay Coast Guard Pier
Kayaking along the Monterey Bay Coast Guard Pier. © by George E. Sayour (click photo to enlarge)

While you can access all the Monterey Bay from this boat launch, you will mainly be staying in the vicinity as there is plenty to see and do here. Once in the water you will be kayaking along the Coast Guard Pier and jetty alongside Breakwater Cove. Paddling along the pier and turning left after it will take you to Breakwater Cove which has a beach, kelp beds, and some great scuba diving. If you paddle to the right, away from the pier, you’ll enter the boatyard where sailboats and other vessels are docked and the wildlife viewing from kayak is plentiful, both on the docked boats and in the water. If you paddle around the pier you'll be paddling toward Lover's Point.

Paddleboarding in Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay Paddleboarding
Paddleboarding in Monterey Bay. © by George E. Sayour (click photo to enlarge)
Paddleboarding is great in Monterey bay due to the plethora of wildlife and the clear waters. The vantage point from a paddle board gives great views of the sea otters on the surface and the sea lions and fish swimming underneath. For wildlife viewing while paddling, paddleboards beat kayaks any day of the week. And this area, to the right of the Coast Guard Pier is relatively protected between the boats and well suited for wildlife viewing from a paddleboard.

Monterey Bay Sea Otters

Monterey Bay Sea Otters
Sea Otters in Monterey Bay. © by Michael Weber (click photo to enlarge)

By all means enjoy the wildlife you will see, but please don’t disturb them or cause them to change their normal behavior. It isn’t good for them, will ruin the experience for future paddlers, and is actually against the law. Sea otters are plentiful in the area between the sailboats and the shore. You’ll probably mistake them for kelp, but look closely on the surface of the water and you’ll notice their little faces poking up out of the water.

Sea Lions in Monterey Bay

Kayak and Sea Lions
Kayaking with Sea Lions in Monterey Bay. © by George E. Sayour (click photo to enlarge)
Sea lions are plentiful all over Monterey Bay, but especially in this area. You’ll see, hear, and even smell them immediately upon launching your kayak as they are strewn out under the Coast Guard Pier and on the jetty that extends out past it. Again, you don’t want to disturb them, but fret not, interaction is almost inevitable as you’ll see them diving under your kayak or paddleboard only to wonder if they will resurface right under you. They are amazingly graceful under the water and such a joy to watch!

Monterey Bay Harbor Seals

Harbor Seals in Monterey Bay
Harbor Seals in Monterey Bay. © by Michael Weber (click photo to enlarge)
Harbor seals are also found in this area. A quick way to tell the difference between seals and sea lionsis that seals don’t have ears, while sea lions do have little ears. Another clue is that the sea lions here are predominantly brown while the harbor seals are grayish. Look for harbor seals lying on the shore across from where the sailboats are docked.
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Sayour, George. "Kayaking and Paddleboarding at Breakwater Cove in Monterey Bay." ThoughtCo, Aug. 31, 2016, thoughtco.com/kayaking-and-paddleboarding-at-breakwater-cove-2555425. Sayour, George. (2016, August 31). Kayaking and Paddleboarding at Breakwater Cove in Monterey Bay. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/kayaking-and-paddleboarding-at-breakwater-cove-2555425 Sayour, George. "Kayaking and Paddleboarding at Breakwater Cove in Monterey Bay." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/kayaking-and-paddleboarding-at-breakwater-cove-2555425 (accessed October 20, 2017).