Sightings Report: April 8, 2018

Sighting from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat

The forecast for today predicted big swells and relatively mild winds, but when we got past the Golden Gate Bridge there were already huge swells with a small period. By the time we were at Point Bonita, we were climbing some huge walls of water. The swell appeared to be close to 15 feet with a period of about 10 seconds. Waves crashed on the San Francisco Bar, and the wind was predicted to pick up in a couple hours. We plodded at about 10 knots for a few minutes before Captain Joe made the decision to turn around and try for the islands another day. 

 Big swells in front of the headlands. 

Big swells in front of the headlands. 

We turned back and surfed the huge swells through the Golden Gate Strait, seeing dozens of speeding harbor porpoises. The headlands were beautiful, full of waterfalls from the recent rain. 

 Waterfalls and wildflowers in the headlands. 

Waterfalls and wildflowers in the headlands. 

On our way back in, we got reports of a whale near Richmond. We headed that way and ended up finding a whale in Raccoon Straits, near Angel Island. 

The whale was a gray. We saw very few flukes, but it spouted regularly. 

There was a good amount of small boat traffic speeding around the whale the entire time we watched, so we made sure to give it plenty of space. 

The gray slowly moved east, moving against the current that flows south on the east side of Angel Island to stay at the edge of Raccoon Straits. 

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After spending a good amount of time with the whale, we turned around and came home, saving the islands trip for another day.