Sightings Report: August 3, 2017

All sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours Vessel Kitty Kat


Our first trip of the day had some of the best weather I’ve seen out on the bay. The sun was out, conditions were glassy, and the lighting over the city was beautiful.

The Golden Gate from the west. 

The Golden Gate from the west. 

Right away we spotted some harbor seals and harbor porpoises, but we headed further out, expecting the humpbacks to follow the same pattern as the previous few days. We were pleasantly surprised when a passenger found the first spout while we were still in the Golden Gate Strait. Perhaps it had something to do with the beautiful calm of the sea in the strait. We approached very slowly and stopped 200 yards away.

We found two humpbacks fluking by Mile Rock, generally staying about 150 yards away from us. A large container ship passed by, and we made sure they had plenty of space.

There were a multitude of harbor porpoises, including many calves. They came remarkably close to us, and often we would hear and see their spouts. Every so often anchovies flickered across the water.

We floated on the glassy sea until it was time to slowly leave the area.

Pelicans soaring over the Golden Gate Strait.

Pelicans soaring over the Golden Gate Strait.


The weather was still nice as we headed out for our second trip. We started up the south side of the strait and quickly located two humpback whales close to Point Bonita. A large fuel ship was coming in, so we waited for it to pass before approaching the whales.

Similar to the first trip, the whales kept their distance, doing several fluke dives. Harbor porpoise and harbor seals were still abundant. Our closest encounter was at 150 yards off our bow, but for the most part the whales seemed to be feeding and ignoring us as we floated nearby.

We also found a telephone pole floating vertically in the water column in the middle of the strait, which we reported to traffic.

We spotted one more humpback on our way in, bringing our total count to three for the trip. We left the area very slowly.

All 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!***