Sightings Report: August 2, 2017

All sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours Vessel Kitty Kat

2pm:

We heard reports of whales underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, so we headed there first to see if it was still around. Just before the bridge we noticed a kite surfer separated from his board, and stopped for a few minutes to see if he needed help. Once he was able to get back to his board and get the kite back in the air we continued our search for whales. 

 Spout by Mile Rock. Photo by Kat Nazar. 

Spout by Mile Rock. Photo by Kat Nazar. 

No spouts were found under the bridge, but we did see a few by Mile Rock. We headed out and stopped just inside the rock, 200 yards away from where two humpbacks were feeding. We floated in neutral and slowly they got closer to us. We saw several fluke dives within 50 yards of our boat. 

 Humpback whale. Photo by Kat Nazar. 

Humpback whale. Photo by Kat Nazar. 

Harbor porpoises, California sea lions, and harbor seals were feeding all around us. Although we had started with beautiful weather, as the trip went on the fog started to settle on the surface of the water, and by the end we had less than 150 yards of visibility. 

 Harbor porpoise! They are fast and shy, so it's pretty difficult to get pictures of them. Photo by Kat Nazar. 

Harbor porpoise! They are fast and shy, so it's pretty difficult to get pictures of them. Photo by Kat Nazar. 

We slowly headed back in, spotting one more humpback diving parallel to us just at the edge of our visibility as we made our way down the middle of the Golden Gate Strait.

5pm: 

By the time we were back out for our last trip, there was thick fog sticking to the surface of the water. We again received reports of a whale under the bridge. 

We approached the Golden Gate Bridge slowly and floated in neutral. At times we could just barely make out the shape of the bridge just ahead of us.

 The Golden Gate Bridge!

The Golden Gate Bridge!

After several minutes of floating, we decided to make a large circle to attempt to locate the whale. We had just started to slowly move when a humpback whale surfaced 80 yards from us on our port side, right in between our boat and the south tower of the bridge. We put the boat in neutral and the whale came up across our bow, another spout just behind it. Both the whales surfaced once more before doing fluke dives right in front of us. 

We waited ten minutes for them to surface again, but didn't see anything. The current was pushing us hard back into the bay. We decided to do another big circle to attempt to relocate the whale. Just as we were closing the bow, the whale came up in the same spot as before (between us and the south tower). It seemed that both of us had been pushed back by the current. The whale again came across our bow and did a fluke dive, but the other whale was not in sight. 

After the fluke dive, we floated in place, hoping to find them again. Visibility improved somewhat, but we couldn't relocate the two whales. They may have headed out into the Strait as the tide moved out. 

Harbor porpoise were everywhere on this trip, most of them feeding under the 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 info.whalegirl@gmail.com! I'd love to add them to this post for others to enjoy (with credit to you). Thank you!***