Sightings Report: August 20, 2017

All sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat

3pm:

We headed out with a full boat and found humpback whales in the middle of the Golden Gate Strait in between Point Bonita and Mile Rock. We first sighted a small fluke heading towards the Cliff House.

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Then we saw a second spout and a much larger whale surface. This was certainly a mother-calf pair. They did several fluke dives, a couple times in synchrony with each other.

 Mother and calf surfacing together.

Mother and calf surfacing together.

The calf did one tail slap near Mile Rock, but the whales kept their distance from us. 

Just as we were leaving, the mother and calf tail slapped in synchrony with each other, creating two huge splashes. The calf slapped several more times before we slowly left the area. 

 Tail slap!

Tail slap!

We also spotted a harbor seal with a halibut in its mouth. It was chomping down as we observed gulls trying to steal a bite for themselves. 

6pm: 

When we went out for the last trip of the day, the seas had calmed down and the fog had started to come in. We were moving west on the south side of the Golden Gate Strait near Mile Rock when we spotted a spout on the north side. 

 Mile Rock.

Mile Rock.

Large ships in the middle of the strait made it difficult to approach the whale, but we relocated it again at Four Fathom Bank off of Point Bonita. The humpback was feeding in just 31 feet of water. 

 One of the container ships heading in to port.

One of the container ships heading in to port.

The whale we found was very small with distinctive white patches on its fluke. It had erratic diving patters and was very elusive. 

We sighted lots of harbor seals and harbor porpoises in the area. 

 Point Bonita at dusk.

Point Bonita at dusk.

All whale sightings were reported to Vessel Traffic and to NOAA using 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!***