pacifica

Sightings: 8/31/19

Sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat

9am:

On our first trip of the day we traveled down to Pacifica and found two humpback whales lunge feeding in 28 feet of water.

One of the whales surfaced for a brief moment before disappearing. The dorsal fin may have been that of Gator, a familiar visitor to our waters.

The other whale stuck around and fed in the area. We saw lunge feeding, anchovies boiling at the surface, and lots of bird activity.

At one point the whale approached us within 100 yards.

We spent about 30 minutes with the whale before returning to port.

12pm:

On our next trip, we found one whale feeding in 85 feet of water. The humpback was originally found between Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Over the course of the trip, the whale moved in between Alcatraz and Angel Island, then towards the Bay Bridge.

We saw lunge feeding and roll feeding from this animal. There were birds hovering over the spot where the whale was feeding.

There was tons of bait in the area, as well as tons of boats approaching the whales. There were inboard/outboard motor boats, sailboats, and large ships in the area.

We spent over an hour with this animal as it moved around the bay.

3pm:

On our final trip of the day we headed back out to the Golden Gate Strait, where we found two whales in about 117 feet of water. One of the whales was moving in and out of the strait, while the other stayed farther out.

We saw some fluke dives from the closer individual, who we identified in our catalog as #62. This whale had new scars on its fluke since we last saw it in 2018.

The whale was feeding, with birds and anchovies present in the same area. There were a few sailboats nearby.

We spent about an hour with this animal.

Sightings: 8/30/19

Sighting from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat

11am:

On our first trip of the day we headed down to Pacifica, where we found four humpback whales feeding close to shore.

The whales were lunge feeding in less than 30 feet of water.

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We saw other evidence of feeding as well, including the presence of anchovies on the fish finder and a huge group of birds close to where the whales were. Three of the whales converged on the spot near the birds. They were lunge feeding probably in less than 20 feet of water.

After watching these animals for about 40 minutes, we started to head back to port. At that point we received a report that there was a humpback whale in San Francisco Bay.

As we approached the Golden Gate Bridge, we spotted the whale just ahead of us. We stayed with it for about 10 minutes, during which time we saw a fluke dive.

We were able to identify this whale as Black October, a whale named by our very own Captain Joe!

There were ships and sailboats passing by and a little bit of bait on the fish finder.

2pm:

On our next trip we headed back out to the Golden Gate Strait and found two humpbacks. First we watched the one near Baker Beach, which we identified again as Black October. We saw one breach from this animal, followed by some fluke diving. The whale appeared to be feeding.

The other whale was across the strait, but moved towards us over the course of the trip. We saw a fluke dive from this animal as well.

We spent about 45 minutes with these animals, who were feeding in 130 feet of water and making their way west over the course of the trip.

We saw some shipping activity as well as some sail and powerboats.

Sightings: 8/8/19

Sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat

11am:

On this trip we headed south and found lots of humpback whales off of Thornton State Beach in Daly City.

We saw some coordinated fluke dives from these animals. Some of these coordinated dives were from a possible cow-calf pair.

There were also birds and anchovies present, suggesting that the animals were feeding. There were about 7 whales in the general area.

We spent about 40 minutes with these animals.

2pm:

On our next trip we found the whales a little bit farther south, past Mussel Rock Park.

We had two humpbacks travelling together in about 33 feet of water.

There were birds and anchovies present in the area, although the whales did not appear to be feeding.

We stayed with these whales for about 25 minutes.

Sightings: 8/7/19

Sighting from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat

11am:

On this trip we found whales right off of Mussel Rock Park in Daly City. 5 humpbacks were feeding in the area in about 40 feet of water.

We saw fluke dives, lunges, and other feeding behaviors from these animals. We had some hovering birds and anchovies on the fish finder.

One whale approached close to the boat.

Two of the whales were a possible cow-calf pair. They spent a lot of time next to each other.

2pm:

On our next trip we returned to the same spot and found one travelling humpback whale.

It was swimming in 45 feet of water. There were some outboard fishing vessels in the area, as well as birds and anchovies.

There was another humpback whale in the distance as well.

Sightings: 8/4/19

Sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours Vessel Kitty Kat

9am:

On our first trip of the day we headed through the fog to the south. Near Mussel Rock we stopped to see a mola mola (ocean sunfish).

While watching the sunfish, we spotted a whale ahead of us. It was moving west and doing frequent fluke dives. As we approached, the water deepened from 40 feet to 56 feet.

As we moved west two more humpback whales appeared. One of the two was Gator, a familiar whale here in the Bay Area.

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It’s possible that the first whale we saw and the other adult were a cow-calf pair.

We spent about 30 minutes with the animals.

12pm:

On our next trip we returned to the same spot, where we had five humpback whales feeding near some fishermen.

We saw lunge feeding and body rolls from these animals, although few fluke dives.

One of the whales we spotted was Gator, who had been feeding in the area earlier in the day. A different whale came within 25 yards of the boat. The whales were in about 50 feet of water, but were relatively close to the shoreline.

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There were also lots of murres with their chicks in the area.

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3pm:

On our final trip of the day we headed back to Mussel Rock and again found five humpbacks feeding in the area.

The whales were within a few hundred yards of the beach, and we could see people walking along the shore.

They lunge fed multiple times all around the boat. There was a huge shoal of anchovy between us and the beach that the whales herded and fed on throughout the trip.

They came within 100 yards of the boat several times. For most of the trip we just idled in the area and watched as the whales swam around us.

We also spotted some fluke dives from these animals.

The way home was very wet, but it was worth it!

Sightings: 8/1/19

Sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat

11am:

On our first trip of the day we headed south towards Pacifica. We ended up spotting one humpback whale just north of Mussel Rock.

We saw fluke dives from this animal, as well as some body rolls. The whale was probably feeding.

The whale was in 44 feet of water. Another whale was spotted in the distance as well.

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There were birds and anchovies present, suggesting that the whale was feeding. There were also tons of common murres with their chicks. We spent about 30 minutes with the animal.

2pm:

On our next trip we found a different humpback whale at the end of the shipping lane, 12 miles offshore. This whale was feeding as well.

We saw lunge feeding and fluke dives from this animal, who was in about 55 feet of water.

We had some California sea lions on the shipping lane buoys. The pilot boat was nearby as well. We had lots of bird activity in the area and anchovies on the fish finder. We spent about 30 minutes with the whale.

Sightings Report: June 11, 2019

Sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat

8 am:

This was a very warm day with little wind. We headed south towards Pacifica in search of whales and found one humpback in the glassy water.

We spent about 30 minutes with the whale, who was surfacing once every few minutes. We didn’t see any fluke dives or lunge feeds from the animal, but there were lots of anchovies on the fish finder.

We also saw sea lions, seabirds, and jellies in the area, which was only about 34 feet deep.

We left the whale as it headed farther west.

11am:

On our next trip we found a whale just outside the Golden Gate Strait, a few miles west of Point Bonita. The whale was slapping its pectoral fin on the water far in the distance.

We saw a couple of fluke dives from this animal, which allowed us to identify it as #51 in our catalog. This whale has a unique fluke from some kind of skin disease which makes tattoo-like markings.

The whale was swimming east in about 90 feet of water. We saw anchovies boiling at the surface and lots of birds taking advantage of the bait balls.

2pm:

On our final trip of the day we headed south again and found a humpback whale off of Fort Funston.

The whale appeared to be feeding in 60 feet of water. We saw anchovies on the fish finder and birds on the surface to confirm their presence.

We saw a few fluke dives from this animal, allowing us to identify it as #6 in our catalog.

We also had a face full of whale breath on this trip!

Sightings Report: May 14, 2019

Sighting from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat

11am

We had beautiful weather on this trip. The seas were flat and visibility was excellent - we were able to see the Farallon Islands in the distance. There was a slight southerly wind, so we decided to head south towards Pacifica.

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We found two whales northwest of the Pacifica Pier, several miles offshore. One of the whales was a humpback and the other was a gray whale. It is unusual to see humpbacks and grays traveling so close together.

The two whales appeared to be traveling together. They were surfacing together every 3-5 minutes.

The humpback surfaced and fluked more frequently than the gray whale. A group of birds followed the whales.

After nearly twenty minutes of traveling together the whales had moved half a mile north of where we found them. At this point the humpback started feeding and the gray whale headed east towards the beach.

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We stayed with the humpback for a few more minutes, spotting lots of sea lions and porpoises in the area as well.

Sightings Report: October 6, 2018

Sightings from San Francisco Whale Tours vessel Kitty Kat

On this trip we had a northwestern wind and swell which pushed us south to Pacifica. We found two humpback whales there.

We saw a few fluke dives and lots of bird activity near the whales, which were relatively close to shore. One of the whales breached 150 yards from the boat.

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When we started heading back, we had another whale within a hundred yards off our port bow. We waited for it to pass us before continuing onward.