Sightings Report: October 14, 2017

All sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat

8am Farallon Islands trip: 

We headed west towards the Farallon Islands in moderate swell and wind, both from the northwest. We found one humpback on our way out feeding under a huge group of gulls, common murres, and sooty shearwaters. 

 Huge group of birds hovering over a bait ball.

Huge group of birds hovering over a bait ball.

We saw a few lunge feeds from the whale, but few fluke dives. It was feeding in 136 feet of water.

 Humpback whale.

Humpback whale.

After a few minutes, we pressed on towards the islands. The captain spotted the blue-footed booby resting on Sugarloaf, along with many juvenile and adult brown pelicans. There were lots of California sea lions in the water and on the rocks, along with a few fur seals. 

The water was full of moon jellies as we progressed towards Mirounga Bay. The shark diving boat was present, but reported no sharks so far that day. 

We decided to use the good weather to continue on towards the continental shelf, passing the west side of the islands. Boats fishing for rockfish started to appear between the swells. 

I spotted a spout 500 yards away, but then discovered something closer to us: a pod of Risso's dolphins moving towards the Farallons. They were slapping their tails, jumping out of the water, and moving quickly southeast. 

Ahead of us were several spouts. Two humpbacks swam side by side a few hundred yards from us, and a few other groups of 2-3 humpbacks were visible.

As we continued we saw two blue whales and more humpbacks spouting ahead. 

 The light-gray back of a blue whale.

The light-gray back of a blue whale.

When we finally had to turn around and head back towards the islands, we had another sighting of the Risso's dolphins before heading east. We watched the humpbacks from our stern until they were out of sight. 

3pm: 

On our 3:00 trip, we found a single humpback whale northwest of the shipping lane. It was showing its fluke and did a few lunge feeds.

A few birds were present hovering over the whale. It was feeding in 76 feet of water. 

 Humpback fluke.

Humpback fluke.

We also spotted harbor porpoises on our way out. 

All sightings west of the Farallons were reported to Vessel Traffic. 

If you were on one of these trips and have photos, send them in to info.whalegirl@gmail.com! I'd love to add them to this post for others to enjoy (with credit to you). Thank you!