Sightings Report: November 19, 2017

All sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Happy Days

The weather was beautiful for this trip out to the Farallon Islands. We had a very light easterly wind, calm seas, and sunshine. We spotted harbor seals and California sea lions on our way out.

We found our first whales north of the shipping lane. There were two humpbacks feeding with a large group of birds circling over them.

It was a mother-calf pair that has been sighted many times before in this area. The mother has a large propeller scar on her back, and the calf seems to have some kind of skin condition, making them easily recognizable.

 A close look at the whale's body shows a propeller scar just before the dorsal fin. 

A close look at the whale's body shows a propeller scar just before the dorsal fin. 

We didn't stay with them long, since we wanted to make it out to the islands. At one point we slowed down to take a look at the bright orange Pacific sea nettles drifting underneath us.

Once we got to the Farallons, we saw another humpback whale spout briefly near Fisherman's Bay. We were unable to relocate it, so we ducked into the bay to get a close look at the California sea lions resting on the rocks and playing in the water. They were very noisy. 

Many common murres were perched on the cliffs above us. We saw a large group of surf scoters fly past us, and one male/female surf scoter pair in the water.

 Surf scoter male and female pair.

Surf scoter male and female pair.

We headed around towards Mirounga Bay, noting moon jellies in the water. The visibility was great and we could clearly see the bottom. Near Maintop island we spotted more sea lions and Northern fur seals. 

We also saw a group of eared grebes.

 Eared grebes.

Eared grebes.

Since there was no wind from the northwest, we traveled around the northwestern side of the islands before heading back home. On our way back we spotted many huge groups of birds, but no more whales. 

 Bird activity. 

Bird activity.