Sep 7 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: Susan Sherman
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include 16 humpback whales, 25-35 Risso's dolphins, several Mola molas, and two great white shark fins.

Participants on Sunday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise left the Clipper Yacht Harbor in calm seas. Upon passing under the Golden Gate Bridge, passengers encountered four humpback whales feeding at the mouth of the bay. Passengers got good looks at their blows, backs, and flukes. After viewing these whales, the boat headed west towards Southeast Farallon Island. Approximately 3 miles east of the islands, a pod of 25-35 Risso’s dolphins was spotted. At the islands, passengers spotted three Tufted Puffins in the water next to the boat, two great white shark fins at the surface of the water, and northern fur seals swimming near the boat. At the Continental Shelf, 12 additional humpback whales were spotted approximately 5 miles west of Southeast Farallon Island. They were observed deep dive feeding, showing their backs, blows, and flukes. One of the whales was also observed breaching.

Other marine mammals spotted included harbor seals, steller sea lions, and California sea lions. Also spotted during the trip were several Mola molas, also known as ocean sunfish.

Species of seabirds sighted on this trip included: Northern Fulmars, Pink-footed Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Brandt’s Cormorants, Pelagic Cormorants, Black Oystercatchers, Red Phalaropes, Heerman’s Gulls, California Gulls, Western Gulls, Caspian Terns, Elegant Terns, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, Rhinoceros Auklets, and Tufted Puffins.


Aug 30 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: Susan Sherman
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include three humpback whales and Tufted Puffins around the boat at the islands.

Participants on Saturday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise left the dock under sunny skies and saw three humpback whales at the entrance to the Golden Gate. Passengers got good looks at their blows and flukes. One of the whales was also seen breaching.

Other marine mammals spotted on this trip included 15 harbor porpoises, harbor seals, California sea lions, and steller sea lions.

Species of seabirds sighted on this trip included: Pink-footed Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, Brown Pelicans, Double-Crested Cormorants, Brandt’s Cormorants, Pelagic Cormorants, Black Oystercatcher, Heerman’s Gulls, Western Gulls, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, and Tufted Puffins.


Aug 24 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: Alicia Retes
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include four humpback whales, numerous Mola molas, and approximately 20 tufted puffins in the water around the islands.

Participants on Sunday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise left the dock and immediately saw a Black-crowned Night Heron fly overhead. The boat then headed west to Southeast Farallon Island. Approximately 20 Tufted Puffins were seen in the water at the islands and one pair flew by the bow, giving passengers good looks at their bright orange beaks. At the islands, participants saw many Mola molas, also known as ocean sunfish, including several juveniles swimming together like a bait ball with their small fins pointing up. The boat circled the islands twice before heading to the Continental Shelf. At the shelf, one humpback whale appeared and was seen diving. Three more humpback whales showed up and the passengers got good looks at their blows and flukes. One humpback was also seen breaching.

Other marine mammals spotted included harbor seals in Diablo Cove and at the islands, California sea lions, steller sea lions porpoising in the water, and northern fur seals.  

Species of seabirds sighted on this trip included: Sooty Shearwaters, Ashy Petrels, Brown Pelicans, Brandt’s Cormorants, Pelagic Cormorants, Heerman’s Gulls, California Gulls, Herring Gulls, Western Gulls, Common Murres on the water with their chicks, Pigeon Guillemots, Marbled Murrelets, and Tufted Puffins.


 

Aug 17 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: Nicole Larson
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include a pair of humpback whales that came within 100 yards of the boat.

Participants on Sunday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise headed west to Southeast Farallon Island in calm seas. A pair of adult humpback whales were encountered traveling together. The boat was able to stay with them for approximately 30 minutes and passengers got good looks at their backs, blows, and flukes as they came within 100 yards of the boat.

Other marine mammals spotted included harbor porpoises, California sea lions, Steller sea lions, harbor seals and northern Fur seals.  

Species of seabirds sighted on this trip included: Black-footed Albatross, Pink-footed Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorant, Brandt’s Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorants, California Gulls, Herring Gulls, Western Gulls, Elegant Terns, Common Murres on the water with their chicks, Pigeon Guillemots, and Tufted Puffins.


 

Aug 16 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: Izzy Szczepaniak
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include sightings of 70 Risso's dolphins with calves and two humpback whales.

Participants on Saturday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise headed west in calm seas and good visibility. Passengers were treated to all 3 color forms of harbor seals at Diablo point. After a quick ride out to Southeast Farallon Island, passengers viewed the Northern Gannett and then headed to the Continental Shelf. One humpback was found heading south along the shelf and passengers were able to view its fluke and blows. The back and blows of another humpback were also seen. Upon leaving the islands, passengers had a great sighting of about 70 Risso’s dolphins traveling with at least a dozen calves.A Risso's dolphin calf and mother. © Izzy Szczepaniak

Other marine mammals spotted throughout the trip included harbor porpoises, California sea lions, including one eating a Mola mola, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, and northern fur seals.A pair of harbor seals showing distinct color forms. © Matthew Keller

Species of sea birds sighted on this trip included: Black-footed Albatross, Northern Fulmars, Sooty Shearwaters, Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Brandt’s Cormorants, Pelagic Cormorants, Black Scoters, Surf Scoters, Black Oystercatchers, Heerman’s Gulls, Western Gulls, Caspian Terns, Elegant Terns, thousands of Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, Cassins Auklets, Tufted Puffins.


Aug 10 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: Izzy Szczepaniak
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include ten humpback whales that came within 100 feet of the boat.

Participants on Saturday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise north along the Marin coast to Bolinas before turning west to North Farallon Island and then east to SEFI . The skies were overcast, with a high fog and 10 knot wind causing the sea to roll with swells of 2 to 4 feet.

On the way out, passengers viewed several harbor seals at Point Diablo and were excited to see all three color coats represented, white, black/white, and red! Ten humpback whales, including a mom-calf pair, approached within 100 feet of the boat, delighting passengers and offering a great show. One humpback was spotted just 4 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Other sightings included 8 ocean sunfish (aka Mola molas), a thresher shark, sea nettles, kelp flies, moon jellies and by-the-wind sailors. Other marine mammals spotted included harbor porpoises, starting in the Bay and continuing throughout the trip, California sea lions, steller sea lions, harbor seals and northern fur seals.  

Species of seabirds sighted on this trip included: 2 Black-footed Albatrosses, Pink-footed Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Brandt’s Cormorants, Pelagic Cormorants, Phalarope sp., Western Gulls, Elegant Terns, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, Cassin’s Auklets, Tufted Puffins and the Northern Gannet; all were seen flying or rafting by the boat.


Aug 3 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: Eric Lichtwardt
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include sightings of 5 Black-footed Albatrosses, 5 Mola molas, and a Northern Gannet

Participants on Saturday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise headed North along the Marin coast in choppy waters before heading Southwest to the Farallon Islands. During the trip, passengers spotted 5 Mola molas, or ocean sunfish, including one that was approximately six feet long. Five Black-footed Albatrosses were seen flying over the boat and 4-5 Tufted Puffins were seen on the water. Passengers also spotted the blows of humpback whales in the distance.

Other marine mammals sighted include harbor porpoises, California sea lions, steller sea lions, northern fur seals, and harbor seals.

Species of sea birds sighted on this trip included five Black-footed Albatrosses, Pink-footed Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Brandt’s Cormorants, Pelagic Cormorants, Heerman’s Gulls, Western Gulls, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, Cassin’s Auklets, Tufted Puffins, and a Northern Gannet.


Aug 2 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: Roger Harris
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include sightings of 2 humpback whales, one thresher shark, and at least 20 Mola molas

Participants on Saturday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise headed North along the Marin coast in choppy waters before heading Southwest to the Farallon Islands. On the way out, passengers viewed a thresher shark breaching twice. Later the boat stopped to look at a Mola mola, or ocean sunfish. During the course of the day, at least 20 Mola molas were spotted, some approximately four feet across.A Mola mola seen on August 2, 2014. Photo courtesy of Linda Boone.

About five miles inside the islands a humpback whale was spotted and passengers were able to view it for about 20 minutes. A second humpback was spotted approximately two miles past the islands. The whale came within a body length of the boat and passengers were able to excellent close views of the animal.One of two humpback whales seen on Aug 2. Photo courtesy of Linda Boone.

Other marine mammals spotted throughout the trip included harbor porpoises, California sea lions, steller sea lions, harbor seals, and northern fur seals.

Species of sea birds sighted on this trip included a Black-footed Albatross, Northern Fulmars, Sooty Shearwaters, Brown Pelicans, Double Crested Cormorants, Brandt’s Cormorants, Pelagic Cormorants, Black Scoters, Surf Scoters, Black Oystercatchers, Heerman’s Gulls, Western Gulls, Caspian Terns, Elegant Terns, thousands of Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, Cassin's Auklets, and 14 Tufted Puffins seen rafting on the water and flying by the boat.


Jul 27 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: David Wimpfheimer
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include sightings of 3 blue whales, approximately 25 Pacific white-sided dolphins, two Mola molas, and 12-14 Black-footed Albatrosses

Participants on Saturday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise headed straight west to the islands in light winds and moderate swell. During the trip, participants viewed three blue whales. Two were seen quite close to the boat and passengers were able to observe their flukes coming out of the water. The whales were seen surfacing four times, once less than 100 yards from the boat.

Approximately 25 Pacific white-sided dolphins were also seen near the whales. In addition, two Mola molas, also called Ocean Sunfish, were spotted during the trip.

Other marine mammals spotted throughout the trip included harbor porpoises, California sea lions, northern elephant seals, and northern fur seals.

Species of sea birds seen on this trip included: Good views of 10-12 Black-footed Albatrosses, Northern Fulmars, Pink-footed Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, Brown Pelicans, Double Crested Cormorants, Brandt’s Cormorants, Pelagic Cormorants, 1 Red-necked Phalarope, 1 Parasitic Jaeger, thousands of Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, 3 Rhinoceros Auklets, and 5 Tufted Puffins.


Jul 20 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: Izzy Szczepaniak
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include sightings of 31 harbor porpoises, 10 humpback whales, and huge pod of 800–1,000 Pacific white-sided dolphins.

Participants on Saturday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise headed straight West towards Southeast Farallon Island (SEFI) in calm seas. Along the way, several harbor porpoises were seen close to the boat, including a calf-cow pair. There were also many sighting of adult Common Murres with their chicks on the water. After observing the thousands of birds at the islands, the boat headed to the Continental Shelf where they saw a total of 10 humpback whales, including a group of 3 whales that appeared to be feeding cooperatively.The fluke of a humpback whale. © Matthew Keller

Other marine mammals sighted included 8 Dall’s porpoises riding the bow waves, a huge pod of hundreds of Pacific white sided dolphins, California sea lions, Steller sea lions, elephant seals, northern fur seals, and harbor seals.Many California sea lions were seen on the trip. © Matthew Keller

Species of seabirds sighted on this trip included: 5 Black-footed Albatross, Pink-footed Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, Brown Pelicans, Double Crested Cormorants, Brandt’s Cormorants, Pelagic Cormorants, Black Oystercatchers, Red-necked Phalarope, other Phalarope species, Heerman’s Gulls, Western Gulls, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, Cassin’s Auklets, and Tufted Puffins.A Pink-footed Shearwater. © Matthew Keller