Sightings Report: September 23, 2017

All sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat

3pm: 

The previous trip had spotted whales past the precautionary area 13 miles offshore, so that's where we headed for this trip. An outgoing tide and very little wind made for a beautiful ride out through the shipping lane, where we saw a harbor seal, harbor porpoises, and California sea lions resting on the shipping lane buoys. 

 Humpback whale.

Humpback whale.

We spotted the first spout southwest of buoys 1 and 2. As we slowly approached, we found that there were 6-7 humpbacks feeding in the area. Most were feeding by themselves, a few hundred yards away from other whales. One pair surfaced together. 

The water was 90-100 feet deep, with huge bait balls showing up on our fish finder. We could see the anchovies swarming at the surface as we looked over the side of the boat. We also noticed some jellyfish in the water as well. 

 Whale with sooty shearwater and container ship nearby.

Whale with sooty shearwater and container ship nearby.

The whales didn't do many fluke dives, probably because most of the food was close to the surface and there was no need to expend energy on deep dives. Often there would be long intervals between surfacing. Some shipping activity was happening in the shipping lane about a few miles away. 

 Almost a fluke dive, but not quite!

Almost a fluke dive, but not quite!

We noticed lots of sooty shearwaters at this spot, as well as gulls, pelicans, and murres. 

The sighting was reported to Vessel Traffic so the nearby container ships were aware of the presence of the whale. 

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!