fishing boats

Sightings Report: September 6th, 2018

Sighting from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat

11am

On this tour we headed 8.5 miles offshore, just west of the shipping lane. We were alerted by the Pilot vessel to the presence of whales in the area.

We were positioned outside the lane with views of at least eight humpbacks in the area.

One whale repeatedly breached close to fishing boats. We also observed the whale slapping its pectoral fins and its tail.

There were anchovies at the surface and lots of feeding birds in the area.

We spotted parasitic, pomarine, and long-tailed jaegers attempting to steal food from other birds.

We were able to catch a whiff of whale breath on this trip as well.

The fishing fleet was close by, and we saw a few whales approach the fishing vessels.

We also had a few ships pass by us.

Sightings Report: August 2, 2018

Sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat

8am:

We had foggy weather for our first trip of the day. We were able to locate two humpback whales, who we identified as Gator and Topspot.

We saw a few fluke dives from these animals.

There was lots of bird activity around the area, as well as some active fishing vessels.

11am:

We found another humpback in about the same area on our next trip. We saw a few fluke dives from a distance.

This whale was different from the two we saw on our earlier trip. It was also exhibiting feeding behaviors.

Sightings Report: August 21, 2017

All sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat

2pm: 

We found our humpbacks out in the shipping lane, where a mother and calf were feeding together. We saw fluke dives from both and I noted that it was the same pair of whales we had been seeing for the past few days. 

The whale's blowhole and dorsal fin.

The whale's blowhole and dorsal fin.

The calf floated on its side with one pectoral fin and one of the lobes of its fluke sticking up in the air. 

The calf floating on its side.

The calf floating on its side.

A large container ship came in the shipping lane while we were observing the whales. A few times the calf came within 100 yards of us while diving. 

A common murre chick with its father.

A common murre chick with its father.

We had beautiful weather and floated in neutral in 60 feet of water to watch these whales feed. On our way back in we had harbor porpoises and harbor seals. Near Alcatraz we saw a California sea lion with a halibut in its mouth being mobbed by a swarm of western gulls. 

Brown pelican in flight.

Brown pelican in flight.

5pm:

We headed out to the same spot we had found the whales on the last trip and found a single humpback there. As we were waiting for it to resurface, I spotted a breach on the other side of the shipping lane. We decided to head to that spot. 

A humpback fluke with an interesting shape.

A humpback fluke with an interesting shape.

Across the shipping lane at least 7 humpbacks were feeding in groups of 2-3. A few calves were present. I noted in particular one group of two adults and one calf feeding together and surfacing in synchrony. 

The whales were feeding in 84 feet of water and many fishing boats were working within one mile of our spot. We saw several more spouts on the horizon, indicating that there were likely at least 10-12 whales in the general area. 

Each of the groups of whales had a huge cloud of birds diving over them. The bird activity was mostly comprised of brown pelicans and western gulls. 

Birds and spouts.

Birds and spouts.

We saw two lunge feeds, which was very exciting for the birds. One whale with a gnarled fluke turned on its side, showing us one pectoral fin and half of its fluke. 

Humpback pectoral fin.

Humpback pectoral fin.

As we left the area, I spotted one more breach on the horizon. 

On this trip we also saw California sea lions resting on the shipping lane buoy and some harbor porpoises with their calves. 

Sea lions rest on the buoy in the shipping lane.

Sea lions rest on the buoy in the shipping lane.

All sightings were reported to Vessel Traffic and NOAA using the Whale Alert app. 

***If you were on one of these trips and have photos, send them in to info.whalegirl@gmail.com! I'd love to add them to this post for others to enjoy (with credit to you). Thank you!***