Sightings Report: July 25, 2017

All sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Happy Days

11am:

Our first trip of the day had beautiful conditions as we headed out to find whales. On our way out, we passed a few pigeon guillemots and common murres with chicks. We first went straight out into the shipping lane, then turned north to search up the Marin coastline. Several sea lions rested on one of the shipping lane buoys as we passed by. 

 Brown pelican in flight. 

Brown pelican in flight. 

After some searching, we spotted one spout near Muir Beach. The spout and the whale were both small; it seemed to be heading north. We saw the fluke once before we needed to head back to port. On our way back in, we received reports that there had been a small whale at the Golden Gate Bridge one hour earlier that had seemed to be heading out, and we hypothesized that it was the same whale that we saw further down the coast. 

2pm: 

The weather was still nice as we headed out for our next trip. We pushed our speed, thinking we would need to go all the way back to Muir Beach to find the whales again but instead we spotted them right outside of Mile Rock. We had three humpbacks feeding and working the same spot, and saw several flukes. Two of the whales surfaced together and were a potential mother-calf pair. There was a lot of harbor porpoise and bird activity, with large groups of murres, pelicans, and cormorants feeding in the same spot.

 Humpback whale!

Humpback whale!

On our way back to port, we recovered a lifejacket which was floating in the water and brought it back to the pier.

5pm:

On our last trip of the day, the three humpbacks feeding outside of Mile Rock were still there, along with many harbor porpoises and at least one harbor seal. The tide line was extremely frothy with a distinct difference in water color - we could see the bay water on one side, and the ocean water on the other, with a line of sea foam marking the boundary. The sea foam is caused by zooplankton, and often indicates a good feeding spot. 

 Fog creeping in behind Point Bonita. 

Fog creeping in behind Point Bonita. 

 Distinct fluke pattern from one humpback. We thought we recognized this individual from last year. 

Distinct fluke pattern from one humpback. We thought we recognized this individual from last year. 

We saw many flukes and spouts. The wind began to pick up and the fog started to set in as we headed back to port. 

All sightings were reported to the Coast Guard and to NOAA via the Whale Alert app. 

***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!***