Sightings Report: July 27, 2017

All sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Happy Days

11am:

For our first trip of the day, we followed the pattern for the week and headed up the north side of the Golden Gate Strait. We almost immediately spotted a whale off of Point Bonita, and as we approached slowly, we noticed many more spouts moving in. As we drifted, there were 4-5 humpbacks feeding at various distances from us, including the one with the distinctive tail who we had seen for the last few days feeding in the same spot. We had also seen that whale last year feeding with a whale with no markings on its fluke.

We floated with the current for over a mile, and it pulled us away from Point Bonita towards Mile Rock, where we saw two breaches from the same whale before slowly leaving the area. 

2pm:

While still on our way out of the bay, we saw a huge group of diving birds. The group was mostly composed of western gulls, but there were terns and and pelicans present as well. I also spotted a pigeon guillemot and many juvenile gulls.

 Western gulls and cormorants near the south tower.

Western gulls and cormorants near the south tower.

We set our course for the same spot where we left the whales, and found there were three humpbacks still working the same tide line close to Baker Beach. Right away we had one breach, which was followed by a lunge feed just a few moments later. 

We floated in place and watched the flukes, which included the same whale as the last trip. Twice humpbacks approached the vessel within 100 yards, particularly when we were seeing a lot of fish on the sonar. The current span us in circles as we floated in neutral. When the whales left, we slowly went back to the pier. 

We also witnessed a sea lion feeding on a king salmon in the strait. 

5pm: 

After having a gloomy fog all day, the sun finally burned off the last of the mist. Right outside the pier we saw a very small harbor seal on one side of us and a California sea lion on the other.

We noticed spouts in the bay, and found two humpbacks by the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. There was one other spout outside the bridge.  One of the whales inside the bay was the same one we had been seeing all day long. 

We saw more spouts outside the bridge as the tide pulled both us and the whales farther out. We had one encounter within 100 yards where the whale dove under our starboard side and popped up on the port side. 

 A good view down the humpback's blowhole!

A good view down the humpback's blowhole!

We moved out by Baker Beach, and had two spouts close to us and two further out by Mile Rock. All the whales seemed to be moving out with the tide. 

We also noticed a lot of harbor porpoise activity, as is typical on the 5pm trips. 

These sightings were reported to the Coast Guard and NOAA on 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!***