Sightings Report: August 27, 2017

All sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat

3pm: 

On this trip we found an elusive humpback whale just outside the Golden Gate Bridge in the Golden Gate Strait. It was on the north side near Diablo Cove in roughly 118 feet of water. 

 Humpback with spout blowing away behind it.

Humpback with spout blowing away behind it.

We watched several fluke dives from a distance, usually several minutes apart. But our patience paid off and a few minutes later we were witnessing breach after breach, 350 yards away from the boat. 

The whale breached a total of 7 times. They were done rapidly in two sets of 3-4.

We also had some harbor seals come near our boat. During the trip we retrieved two mylar balloons floating in the water near the wildlife. 

 Crew Jayke retrieving a balloon from the water. Photo by Jody Payne.

Crew Jayke retrieving a balloon from the water. Photo by Jody Payne.

The sea conditions were smooth as the tide continued to move east. We slowly left the area where we had seen the whale. We saw one more spout underneath the Golden Gate Bridge as we passed to the other side.

On our way in we noticed a lot of harbor porpoise and pelican activity. A sea lion was lying on the dock as we disembarked. 

6pm: 

We headed out on our second trip with a change in the tide pulling the water in the opposite direction of the swell, creating some rougher conditions than our previous trip. 

 Some interesting shadows on the fog on the way out. Photo by Jody Payne.

Some interesting shadows on the fog on the way out. Photo by Jody Payne.

As we passed under the Golden Gate Bridge, the captain spotted a breach one thousand yards away near Point Bonita. We headed in that direction, seeing more spouts pop up all the time. 

 Humpback surfacing near a group of pelicans. 

Humpback surfacing near a group of pelicans. 

The swell was large outside of the Golden Gate Strait, and we proceeded slowly both for the safety of the whales and for our own comfort. We watched spouts and flukes 200 yards away from our boat as we turned our stern into the swell and floated in neutral. The three humpbacks near us each had a cloud of birds circling above them. 

After floating for a while, all three humpbacks did fluke dives within 100 yards of us.

One came just 50 feet away from the port side and did a single loud tail slap. 

We saw another mylar balloon and attempted to retrieve it, but we lost sight of it in the swell and were not successful. 

 Humpback fluke.

Humpback fluke.

The light on this trip was beautiful and we enjoyed the sunset as we slowly headed back to shore surrounded by lots of bird activity. 

All sightings were reported to Vessel Traffic. 

My mom came on both of these trips and contributed many of the photographs. It was so much fun to have her come out on two really different but incredibly fun trips. Love you, mama!

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!