Sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat
We had beautiful sea conditions as we headed out into the Golden Gate Strait. The sky was foggy, but the ocean was calm and there was very little wind. We quickly found a whale just inside Point Bonita.
We saw a few fluke dives from the humpback. We also spotted another spout across the Golden Gate Strait and two more out past Point Bonita. I decided to move out towards the two whales to the west.
We slowly approached the whales, who were feeding along a tide line. It was a mother and calf surfacing in synchrony. We gave them plenty of space, since mother-calf pairs tend to be extra sensitive to human interactions. They were not throwing flukes.
After watching them for a few minutes, we drifted back towards the Golden Gate Strait, where we relocated some of the whales we had seen earlier. The two of them had moved to the west, while the mother-calf pair started to move east.
Visibility was decreasing as we headed back to port surrounded by fog. I spotted the first common murre chicks I have seen this season.
On our next trip the fog had engulfed the Golden Gate Bridge, but in the strait visibility improved significantly. Some passengers spotted our first whale in the middle of the strait.
We saw one fluke dive from this humpback, who then disappeared.
I had my eye on more spouts near Point Bonita, so we headed that way. Near the lighthouse we found two humpbacks. One of them was the individual Akula, easily recognizable by the flat dorsal fin.
The other individual started tail slapping repeatedly while birds hovered around it. The tail slapping continued for several minutes. Occasionally the whale would take a break and then start slapping again.
At one point a gray whale popped up 50 yards in front of us before swimming away to the other side of the strait.
We stayed with the active whale for most of the trip. At one point it breached 70 yards from our boat.
We had at least 6 humpbacks and 1 gray within a half mile of our vessel. A large container ship passed us during the trip.
At the end of the trip as we headed back to port, we saw a whale near Point Bonita breach three times, followed by a whale at Mile Rock tail slapping.
I saw lots of murres with fish in their beaks on this trip.