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Monterey Bay Eco Tours in the Press

Check out these news articles highlighting Monterey Bay Eco Tours and our custom built, fully electric catamaran, the "El Cat"

See Monterey’s sea-otter paradise with a ride on a unique, electric catamaran

By John Metcalfe

Read the full article by John Metcalfe in The Mercury News.

“It’s a sunny summer afternoon, and our group is embarking on a tour of the Elkhorn Slough, a biodiverse tidal estuary on Monterey Bay. The slough is home to pupping harbor seals, endangered birds and the world’s densest concentration of southern sea otters – including a rogue otter that has learned a deadly new trick.

You may have heard of people kayaking through this slough, but we’re boarding a very different watercraft, a 37-foot, ADA-compliant catamaran called the El Cat. We get comfortable on padded seats and whip out binoculars and birding guides.

“This is an inland waterway and it’s calm,” says our Monterey Bay Eco Tours captain. “Feel free to stand up, stretch your legs and walk around. But please try to keep two-thirds of your child or husband inside the boat at all times.”

The El Cat is unique in this world. Company owner Wendy Kitchell custom-built it with brother Joseph Kitchell using a proprietary epoxy-infusion system. It’s so strong and lightweight, a cargo ship could run it over, and the broken pieces would still float. Not that that would ever happen on these protected waters, where the biggest danger is mispronouncing “slough.” (Hint: It does not rhyme with “plow” or “rough.”)”

Explore coastal habitats with eco-friendly tours in Monterey

By Alissa Greenberg

Read the full article by Alissa Greenberg in the SF Gate.

Some 20 miles north of Fort Ord, visitors to the Central Coast can experience a whole other side of Monterey Bay nature in Elkhorn Slough.

“Right now, we’re seeing tons of big sea lions and brown pelicans,” said Marina Maze, a captain with Monterey Bay Ecotours.

Plus, spring is harbor seal pupping season, and the slough is a great place to see mothers swimming with their pups, she said. And then, of course, there’s the otters. Elkhorn Slough hosts one of the biggest resident populations of sea otters in the United States. Sightings are so reliable that the company boasts a sea-otters-or-bust money-back guarantee.

Monterey Bay Eco Tours was the brainchild of boat captain and nature lover Wendy Kitchell. As a teenager working in Key West, Kitchell watched her favorite coral reef suffer the consequences of pollution and over-tourism.

“I remember the shocking day it was just broken rubble, bleached-out coral pieces,” she said. “I was like ‘Oh my god, we killed this reef.’ ”

After moving to California to be close to family, Kitchell teamed up with her brother, a master boat builder who specializes in extremely light and strong boats using specialized materials — light enough to be powered entirely by electricity. The goal: a boat that could help visitors explore this corner of the natural world without slowly destroying it.

Kitchell’s electric boat isn’t just low emissions; it’s also remarkably quiet.

Electric catamaran sets high sustainability standard in Moss Landing

By Rachel Kippen

Read the full article by Rachel Kippen in the Santa Cruz Sentinel’s Our Ocean Backyard column.

I’ve written previously about the steep wave that women navigate to create respected, lucrative, and sustainable careers in seafaring roles, particularly as boat captains. Readers may remember being introduced to four women who shared their experiences as a cohort of mutually supportive captains in a male-dominated field.

Marina Maze is one such role model who’d recently acquired her license. Nine months later, you’ll now find Maze captaining aboard a woman-owned and operated business in Moss Landing named Monterey Bay Eco Tours, skillfully maneuvering an electric 37-foot catamaran that tours the Elkhorn Slough. I caught up with Monterey Bay Eco Tours owner, Wendy Kitchell, a captain in her own right who holds a 500 ton masters license.

Kitchell, who started in the maritime industry when she was 18 as a new transplant to Key West, Florida, landed a gig on a charter boat with her brother Joe and noticed an immediate “intuitive feel” in her role in spite of never having worked on boats previously. “We were taking people out on snorkeling tours to the third largest coral reef in the world off the Florida Keys,” says Kitchell. She continues, ‘I started working on other boats and doing more offshore sailing and adventuring. I got my 100 ton master’s at the age of 22 as by then I’d decided I didn’t want to return to conventional schooling and wanted to make a career on the water. I went on to drive Tall ships, private yachts and racing sailboats.’

Found Treasure Palooza: Fruition, Woodward, Eco Tours and More

By Mark C. Anderson

Read the full article by Mark C. Anderson in Edible Monterey.

Complimentary Citrosa Hazy IPAs and Raspberry Snack sours from Watsonville’s Fruition Brewing.

Free and fresh halibut ceviche and spicy watermelon gazpacho from under-the-radar Moss Landing outpost Woodward Marine Market.

Southern sea otters, California sea lions and swooping brown pelicans, viewable from the first-of-its kind electric catamaran steered by Monterey Bay Eco Tours.

In other words: quite the party, arranged to celebrate Edible’s summer issue and solstice at the same time, completely free for the readers who RSVP’d in time (slots filled quick-like).

And while it may be over, the inspiration for it will linger on newsstands for months, and longer in personal EMB stashes in basements and attics across the West.

Monterey Bay Eco Tours, A Unique and Wonderful Experience

By Kevin Painchaud

Read the full article by Kevin Painchaud in Growing Up in Santa Cruz.

On a beautiful fall afternoon, my daughter Tess and I boarded an all electric catamaran owned by the company Monterey Bay Eco Tours and spent the next hour and a half exploring wildlife of the Elkhorn Slough. It proved to be a unique and wonderful experience that that kept us both excitedly pointing out sea otters, various harbor seals and seal lions and birds of all types. The naturalist on board, Wyatt Henry, provided us with interesting information all about the wildlife, the land and history of the slough. It was such a wonderful trip that was safe not only from sea sickness, but is also a wonderful Covid-safe adventure for all ages. It was also such a pleasure to be onboard this 37-foot custom built catamaran, because it was very quiet and did not give off any noxious fumes, that you often get from other boat charters.

The captain and owner of the electric catamaran, Wendy Kitchell, spent some time with me explaining her company, Monterey Bay Eco Tours.

This is a new company on the local charter boat scene that has partnered up with Moss Landing Boat Works for an operating base with the objective of changing the face of the charter boat industry, both locally and beyond. They began the build almost two years ago and went through rigorous Coast Guard testing for the new boat.

They opened in March and then closed soon after because of the Covid outbreak With safety features at hand, it opened ing again in June.

Monterey Bay Eco Tours opts for Electric Propulsion

By Elco Motor Yahts

Read the full article by Elco Motor Yachts in Marine Business World

California’s Monterey Bay’s stunning blue waters owe, in part, its legendary abundance of seabirds and marine mammals to adjacent Elkhorn Slough — the first estuarine sanctuary established in the United States. When Wendy Kitchell decided to start Monterey Bay Eco Tours, a charter tour business highlighting this critical natural resource, she wanted it to have minimal impact on Elkhorn Slough’s wildlife and fragile ecosystem. To power her 32-passenger power catamaran, El Cat, she naturally opted for clean, quiet Elco electric outboard propulsion.

Elco’s outboards are friendly to more than just the Slough’s wildlife, too. “Having an electric vessel is what sets us apart from other tour operators,” said Kitchell. “Passengers constantly remark on how quiet and vibration-free the trip is, especially when we idle and observe wildlife. Plus, we don’t have to constantly position the boat to keep exhaust fumes downwind from our guests.”

Wendy’s brother Joe Kitchell built El Cat using vacuum-infused fiberglass and carbon fiber for the hulls and 100% carbon fiber for the deck. The 11.3m L x 4.5m W David Walworth-designed, wheelchair-accessible vessel is not only incredibly strong, but exceptionally light, and its highly efficient hull is easily propelled to its cruising speed by twin Elco EP-20 outboards. Powered by Rolls 6V batteries wired in series to produce 48V, the motors create a combined 354kg of thrust.