Sightings Report: April 5, 2018

All sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Happy Days

8am: 

With no whale reports to go off of, we headed out past the Golden Gate Bridge to check what was happening in the Golden Gate Strait. 

 Sutro tower in the fog.

Sutro tower in the fog.

We stopped at Diablo Cove along the way to see the harbor seals. There were two Canada Geese hanging out in the cove as well. 

DSC_2692.JPG

We then continued past Point Bonita and turned north towards Muir beach, noting lots of sea lions on and around the northern shipping lane buoy. 

We heard reports of a whale at buoys 1 and 2, so we headed west to check. We were moving along a tide line, but saw very little activity of any kind. The weather was beautiful, with flat seas and great visibility despite overcast skies. 

When we were out in the shipping lane, we heard reports of whales back inside the bay. We headed back in and took the long way home around the east side of Alcatraz, but we didn't end up finding anything. 

11am: 

On our second trip we followed a similar route to our first trip. We went around the North side of Alcatraz. There were reports of whales in the northern shipping lane, which was way out of our range. We decided to head outside the gate again. 

 Cormorants near Point Bonita.

Cormorants near Point Bonita.

After a long stretch north, then west, then back south, we still hadn't found any whales. We were seeing lots of harbor porpoises and California sea lions. 

 Birds near Point Bonita.

Birds near Point Bonita.

On our way back in we ducked inside Diablo Cove to look at the harbor seals. The geese were still hanging out with the seals. 

2pm: 

On our last trip of the day we decided to go around Angel Island. We were just getting to Raccoon Straits when we heard a report of a whale east of Yerba Buena Island. This was a weird place for a whale to be, so we decided to check it out. 

DSC_2787.JPG

We spotted the spout near the Bay Bridge, very close to a small fishing boat. It was a single gray whale, mostly staying in one spot and moving against the tide. 

 The whale blending in with the water and sky.

The whale blending in with the water and sky.

It did not throw flukes, and it blended in very well against the gray water and sky. There were lots of buoys and things to avoid in this area, so we had to be extra careful about the whale's location. 

DSC_2759.JPG

At one point the gray approached us and swam right under our bow. I got a good look at the fluke and some mud plumes which trailed behind the whale. 

We reported the whale to Vessel Traffic and then headed back in to port.