Sightings Report: September 27, 2017

All sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Happy Days


We found whales on this trip northwest of shipping lane buoys 1 & 2. A pilot vessel floated nearby, waiting to guide incoming container ships. 

A pair of two adults surfaced together several times, doing fluke dives in synchrony. Occasionally they were lunge feeding in synchrony as well. 

Several other whales were feeding on their own in the area for a total of 5-7 humpbacks. Huge clouds of birds hovered over each whale. One whale did a single pectoral fin slap. 

The water was glassy with beautiful sunny weather. We also saw moon jellies, harbor porpoises, a harbor seal, and some California sea lions resting on the shipping lane buoy. 

California sea lions on a buoy.

California sea lions on a buoy.


We returned to the same spot for our next trip. There was a lot of traffic, with six or seven container ships passing by us over the course of the trip.

The first humpbacks we saw were past the container ships, so we waited to approach. Before we began approaching a humpback surfaced closer to us. 

Humpback fluke.

Humpback fluke.

We were in 90 feet of water and saw many shallow dives from the whale, with very few fluke dives. At one point the whale did a side lunge feed, showing its pectoral fin. Big clouds of birds hovered over the whales. 


On our way back in, we picked up a plastic bag from the water. 

All sightings were reported to Vessel Traffic. 

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