Sightings Report: April 11, 2018

All sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Happy Days


On our first trip of the day we saw a spout right as we were leaving Pier 39. We followed it south towards the Bay Bridge.

Gray whale surfaces near the Bay Bridge.

Gray whale surfaces near the Bay Bridge.

It was a gray whale. We saw spouts and the whale's back, but no flukes. 


We observed the whale for a while, marking the location for ferries and other ship traffic in the area. Eventually we lost track of it, so we headed south of the Bay Bridge and then back around Angel Island to look for it. 

We spotted harbor porpoises and a harbor seal in the water near Angel Island, along with a few Pacific sea nettles. On our way back to port, we saw a sea lion with a thrashing fish attracting a lot of attention from the birds.


On this trip it took us slightly longer to find the whale. It was spouting a quarter mile southeast of Angel Island. We saw spouts and the back, but no flukes. This was likely the same gray whale we saw on our first trip. 

We observed the whale for a while before heading to the Golden Gate Bridge and on to Diablo Cove to see the harbor seals. 

From there we headed out to Point Bonita before turning around and heading home. The big swell in the strait pushed us back into San Francisco Bay towards home. 


For our final trip of the day we went east of Alcatraz and around Angel Island, searching the deep water channel.


As we came back around Angel Island we found the gray whale. 


The whale was spouting 3-4 times and then fluking. Over the course of several dives it slowly moved northward. We followed at a distance as it headed back to Angel Island before we had to return to port. 

This was the first day I noticed elegant terns had returned to the bay. We also spotted some California sea lions. 

Common Grebe. 

Common Grebe.