Sightings Report: August 15, 2017

All sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat


On my first trip of the day we found one humpback whale just outside the Golden Gate Bridge. The whale was feeding in the middle of the Golden Gate Strait near Diablo Cove. We had seen this same whale in the same spot last Saturday and Sunday. 

Humpback fluke.

Humpback fluke.

Humpback near a sailboat. 

Humpback near a sailboat. 

We floated in 88 feet of water, 70 of which was filled with anchovies. At first the whale was elusive, and a strong tide pulled us back towards the bridge. Then the whale decided to move in towards the bridge as well. It surfaced close to the south tower, then moved into San Francisco Bay. We saw a lot of bird activity around the bridge and over where the whale was feeding; pelicans and terns were particularly abundant.

As we floated in neutral, we saw a few fluke dives about 50 feet from our boat. We also soptted harbor porpoises and harbor seals.

On the way in we saw sea lions in the water and sleeping on our dock. 


By 5pm the weather had turned foggy and cold. As we passed under the bridge, we saw a breach out in the middle of the strait in line with Point Bonita. We approached slowly and found three humpbacks in that spot. 

One of the humpbacks breached several times, then proceeded to slap the water with its pectoral fin several times. We saw fluke dives from two other whales including the one we had seen on our previous trip.

As a container ship passed by we moved over to the north side of the strait to make sure we were out of the way and the whales had plenty of room to avoid the ship. We continued to float in neutral, watching the whales, harbor porpoises, sea lions, harbor seals, and diving birds.

The whale that had been breaching headed west, but the other two headed east before we slowly left the area. We noticed several small fishing vessels with outboard motors speeding in between us and the whales. 

Humpback fluke in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Humpback fluke in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

All whale 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! I'd love to add them to this post for others to enjoy (with credit to you). Thank you!***