things to do in avila beach

Whale Watching is one of the Best Things to Do in Avila Beach

things to do in avila beachWhale watching has become a big draw to Avila Beach since the humpback whales came shockingly close to its shores in 2012 and then again in 2015. While they may not come right up to the beach every season, the whales are usually within a short trip on a sailboat or catamaran. Whale Watching tours line the central coast, waiting to take eager tourists out to sea for a glimpse of these majestic beasts.

Meet Capt. Mark, Avila Beach Whale Watching Tour Guide

Of the many things that make Avila Beach a magical place, Captain Mark Kocina certainly sits at the top of the list. Capt. Mark started Central Coast Sailing Charters off the shores of Avila Beach around 2011 and has become a bit of a local institution in less than a decade. He’s such a beloved captain that the majority of his clients are repeat customers.

So what makes Capt. Mark’s tours so special?

His unmatched knowledge of the wildlife in the sea left us feeling like we weren’t the first people to ask if he’d gone to school for marine biology. Add to that an approachable, laid-back demeanor and genuine love of the ocean and sailing, and you can’t help but ask about his backstory.

In short, his backstories all have backstories. Capt. Mark is one of those rare individuals who has seen a lot of the world and, as such, loves nothing more than to share his appreciation of it.

To start, he has decades of experience sailing and guiding. He spent most of his young and middle adult years guiding trips all around the world, delivering sailboats from Seattle to New York and even once guided a camera boat during the filming of “The River Wild.”

things to do avila beach whale watching tour

Photo by vivek kumar on Unsplash

One Of The Best Things To Do in Avila Beach

While traipsing around the world’s navigable waters (eventually with his wife, Jennifer, and then daughter in tow) sounds like a pretty awesome existence, his story begins again as the couple decided to head back to the Central Coast in 2007. After all, they had a young daughter to raise and though she might benefit from some land-locked roots. While his wife got a job at CalPoly, he became a Vessel Master for the prestigious Monterrey Bay Aquarium. While working with some of the country’s top aquatic researchers, he listened and learned.

Which again, begs the question. Why leave what must be one of the world’s most awesome jobs?

The answer, again, is family. Working with the aquarium simply kept him away from his family for too many hours. As a result, he found a way to take his experience and knowledge closer to home. And so Central Coast Sailing Charters was born.

On the one hand, while spending a few hours with Capt. Mark, you’ll most likely see whales, as he knows all the best whale watching spots on the Central Coast. However, whales are roving animals, and this adventure is not a zoo. Your guarantee? You will see and learn about more wildlife than you can imagine, and you get to spend a few hours with one of the world’s coolest humans.

For more information on booking a whale watching tour with Capt. Mark, you can check availability and book online.

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