Sightings Report: August 1, 2018

Sighting from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat


On our first trip of the day we had western winds and a strong tidal change midway through the trip. We headed out past the Golden Gate Bridge, hugging the north side of the strait. 

Outside Point Bonita there were tons of fishing boats looking for salmon. There was a lot of bird activity as well. We moved slowly through the area and were able to spot two humpbacks. 

We approached up to just over 100 yards and then floated in neutral for the rest of the trip. The two humpbacks were feeding and showing flukes. 

At one point one of them surfaced within 5 yards of the boat, doing several close fluke dives. 

They drifted east of us, but the current pushed us in their direction, so we were able to approach without engaging motors at all. They moved to 250 yards away, but then returned to again come within 100 yards of our boat. 

We also had harbor porpoise, California sea lion, harbor seal and lots of bird activity. There were lots of sooty shearwaters, murres with chicks, brown pelicans, and other birds in the area. 

We waited until the whales were 100 yards away before engaging our motors to slowly move back towards the Golden Gate Bridge. 


As the tide came in the sea flattened a little for the next trip. We came up the south side of the strait this time to avoid a large inbound oil tanker. 

As we got to Mile Rock we spotted spouts ahead. One was just a few hundred yards and the other was several hundred yards beyond that. 

We floated in neutral and the closer whale did several fluke dives. It came to about 120 yards over the course of the trip. 

We were being pushed east fast by the tide, current, and wind, so we repositioned once to be above the whale. It moved north of us and we floated with it. 

It seemed to be making its way farther into the straits, while the other humpback stayed outside Mile Rock.