Sightings Report: August 30, 2017

All sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Happy Days

2pm: 

We passed a California sea lion on our way out towards the Golden Gate Bridge. We were headed down the middle of the Golden Gate Strait in some pretty rough water when we spotted a spout on the north side of the strait in Bonita Cove. 

 Humpback on the north side of the strait.

Humpback on the north side of the strait.

A large container ship was passing by, so we waited to approach the whale. While we were waiting, another humpback surfaced 150 yards south of us. 

We turned the boat so the swell was at our stern and floated in neutral. The humpback seemed to be heading east towards the bay. 

As we saw that whale's fluke, the other whale across the strait started slapping its tail over and over again, directly in the path of the incoming ship. It slapped  at least 5 times before diving. 

Once the ship had passed, we crossed the strait to Diablo Cove. We saw it surface a few times and do a fluke dive, but we were unable to relocate it after that. At least four more large container ships, fuel ships, and tugs with barges passed by. It was the heaviest traffic I have seen.

While attempting to relocate the whale, we observed a lot of harbor porpoise activity. We also ducked into Diablo Cove to look at the harbor seals resting on the rocks. While we were here I noticed a plastic bag floating in the water, and we did a man overboard drill to retrieve it. 

Eventually we needed to head back to port, so we made our way towards the Golden Gate Bridge. As we approached the bridge I saw a spout 200 yards ahead under the center span of the bridge with lots of birds overhead. We slowed down and passed the whale, watching it from our stern as we made our way back to port. 

 Spout with a cloud of birds above.

Spout with a cloud of birds above.

5pm: 

When we returned to the bridge, the same humpback whale was under the center span and another had moved in to feed with it. We had reports of another spout just outside the bridge. They were diving in 300+ feet of water. 

 Humpback just inside the Golden Gate Bridge.

Humpback just inside the Golden Gate Bridge.

Our fish finder told us there was lots of fish 150 feet down, and the whales continued to feed near the south tower and inside the bay. 

High tide was not until 7:05 PM, so when we slowly left the area the whales didn't seem to be heading back out. 

We spotted a sea lion on our way back in. 

 California sea lion.

California sea lion.

All sightings were reported to Vessel Traffic.

 The Golden Gate Bridge and the moon.

The Golden Gate Bridge and the moon.

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!