Sightings Report: August 24, 2017

All sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours Vessel Kitty Kat


We had only been underway for a few minutes when passengers alerted us to a spout. It was a humpback diving in the middle of the bay between Alcatraz and Sausalito. We put the boat in neutral and waited to approach, since a large container ship was heading straight towards the whale. 

After the container ship passed us, we continued to keep a distance from the whale as another westbound fuel ship approached us.

We saw several fluke dives from the whale, which for the most part was roughly 150 yards from the boat. I had my eye on another spout under the bridge. 

The whale started to move towards Crissy Field, where we spotted another smaller whale which could have been a calf. This whale did more frequent fluke dives and stayed at least 250 yards away from us. One whale was still spouting underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. 

The original humpback started moving back out towards the south tower of the bridge. 

There were many harbor porpoises, including calves. We also spotted a California sea lion. A strong northwestern wind blew through the Golden Gate. 



On our last trip of the day, the tide had changed and started to go out. The eastward movement of the tide and the western wind and swell created some rough seas even far inside the bay. 

We headed out into the Golden Gate Strait, seeing harbor porpoise everywhere. Our crew spotted several spouts two miles ahead of us in the shipping lane, and we got ready to make the journey out in some large swell. But just as we approached Mile Rock, a humpback surfaced 80 yards from our boat. We turned the boat so the swell was at our stern and put it in neutral. 

Humpback whale near a tug.

Humpback whale near a tug.

The whale surfaced two more times and stayed down for long intervals. We didn't see any fluke dives. 

Humpback near Baker Beach.

Humpback near Baker Beach.

There was a large amount of bird and shipping activity. After the third dive, we were unable to relocate the whale. 

All sightings were reported to Vessel Traffic and to NOAA via the Whale Alert app. 

Weird lighting inside the Golden Gate Bridge.

Weird lighting inside the Golden Gate Bridge.

***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!***