Jan 18 2015 (All day)
Half Moon Bay

Participants on Saturday’s Half Moon Bay gray whale watching trip in the morning headed west 15 miles in moderate seas. Three gray whales were spotted during this trip. Two sightings were only fleeting blows, and the third whale was spotted heading south. The boat paralleled this whale for 15 minutes. Passengers were able to see the whales’ fluke prints in the water and track its progress.A gray whale seen on January 17, 2015. © Pete Winch

Brown pelican seen January 17, 2015. © Pete Winch

The afternoon trip on Saturday also spotted three gray whales. The first was seen heading south and came within 60 feet of the boat, giving passengers got good looks at its back and flukes. This whale also swam on its side occasionally, sticking its pectoral fin out of the water. The second whale was spotted as it was travelling south. It was a smaller animal that came within 50 feet of the boat, also showing its back and flukes. This encounter lasted 10 minutes. The third whale was encountered 15 minutes from the harbor and passengers also got good looks at its back and flukes.

As is the nature of wildlife viewing, Sunday’s trip was unable to find any whales. Other marine mammals sighted over the weekend included harbor porpoises, California sea lions, and harbor seals.

Species of seabirds sighted on both trips included: Pacific loons, Common loons, Eared grebes, Western grebes, Black-vented shearwaters, Brown pelicans, Double-crested cormorants, Brandt’s cormorants, Surf scoters, California gulls, Western gulls, and Common murres. 


 

Jan 11 2015 (All day)
Half Moon Bay

Gray whale fluke on Jan 11, 2015. © Sky Webb RoadParticipants on Saturday’s Half Moon Bay gray whale watching trip headed west under sunny skies and calm seas. Approximately five miles west of Half Moon Bay an adult gray whale was spotted traveling south. Passengers were able to observe this whale breaching and the encounter lasted for 45 minutes. A second adult gray whale was observed approximately 9 miles west of Half Moon Bay. Passengers got good looks at its back, blows and flukes.

Participants on Sunday’s trip also enjoyed sunny skies and flat seas. Approximately 6 miles west of Half Moon Bay an adult gray whale was spotted. This whale was possibly female due to its wide girth. The whale came within 100 feet of the boat and passengers were able to see its blows and listen to it exhale. This encounter lasted for an hour and a half.

Other marine mammals sighted over the weekend included harbor porpoises, California sea lions, and harbor seals.

Species of seabirds sighted on both trips included: Pacific loons, Common loons, Eared grebes, Western grebes, Northern fulmars, Pink-footed shearwaters, Sooty shearwaters, Brown pelicans, Double-crested cormorants, Brandt’s cormorants, Surf scoters, Black oystercatchers, Herring gulls, Western gulls, and Common murres.


Jan 4 2015 (All day)
Half Moon Bay

Participants on Saturday’s Half Moon Bay gray whale watching trip headed southwest under sunny skies, light winds, and small swells. Approximately seven miles west of Half Moon Bay, the boat spotted a pair of gray whales and another individual whale. The boat followed this group and another two gray whales for about 40 minutes. During this time, passengers sighted another 8-10 whales all around the boat for the remainder of the trip. 

Participants on Sunday’s trip also enjoyed sunny skies and flat seas. Passengers were able to spot four gray whales throughout the trip. The first pair was somewhat far off, but passengers were able to get good looks at a second pair. 

Other marine mammals sighted over the weekend included harbor porpoises, California sea lions, and harbor seals.

Species of seabirds sighted on both trips included: Eared grebes, Western grebes, Black-vented shearwaters, Brown pelicans, Double-crested cormorants, Pelagic cormorants, Surf scoters, Heerman’s gulls, California gulls, Western gulls, and Common murres.


 

Dec 28 2014 (All day)
Half Moon Bay

Our 2014-2015 Half Moon Bay gray whale watching season is off to an exciting start!

Participants on Saturday’s Half Moon Bay gray whale watching trip, the first of the season, headed southwest under beautiful, sunny skies and encountered four gray whales traveling together. The encounter lasted for about an hour. Participants also viewed three harbor porpoises as they returned to Pillar Point.

Participants on Sunday’s trip also enjoyed sunny skies and flat seas. They were able to view two gray whales and 11 harbor porpoises.

Other marine mammals sighted over the weekend included California sea lions and harbor seals.

Species of seabirds sighted on both trips included: Pacific loons, common loons, eared grebes, western grebes, black-vented shearwaters, brown pelicans, double-crested cormorants, pelagic cormorants, surf scoters, Heerman’s gulls, California gulls, herring gulls, western gulls, and common murres.


Nov 9 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: Gale Broesder and Susan Sherman
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include one humpback whale, 20+ harbor porpoises, a brown booby, and two peregrine falcons

Participants on Saturday and Sunday’s Farallon Islands nature cruises headed out in dense fog that cleared later in the day. On Sunday passengers spotted the blows, back, and dorsal of fin of one humpback whale four miles west of Duxbury Reef. On both days, passengers spotted numerous harbor porpoises and ribbons of migratory loons and scoters. Passengers on Sunday were also able to spot a brown booby on Sugarloaf Rock and two peregrine falcons.

Other marine mammals spotted on both trips included California sea lions, Steller sea lions, northern elephant seals, and harbor seals.

Species of seabirds sighted on both trips included: Red-throated loons, Pacific loons, Common loons, Eared grebes, Western grebes, Pink-footed shearwaters, Sooty shearwaters, Brown pelicans, Double-crested cormorants, Brandt’s cormorants, Pelagic cormorants, Black oystercatchers, Red Phalaropes, Heerman’s gulls, Ring-billed gulls, California gulls, Western gulls, Caspian terns, Elegant terns, and Common murres.


Nov 1 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: David Wimpfheimer
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include 6 humpback whales, a Blue-footed Booby, and a Brown Booby.

Participants on Saturday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise headed out in moderate winds and moderate seas. Approximately half way to Southeast Farallon Island, the boat encountered six humpback whales. Passenger got good looks at these whales, including two breaches.

This trip had good bird diversity with the sighting of the Northern Gannett, a Blue-footed Booby, and a Brown Booby on Sugar Loaf rock.

Other marine mammals spotted on the trip included California sea lions, Steller sea lions, northern elephant seals, and northern fur seals.

Species of seabirds sighted on this trip included: Common loons, Northern fulmars, Pink-footed shearwaters, Sooty shearwaters, Black-vented shearwaters, Brown pelicans, Double-crested cormorants, Brandt’s cormorants, Pelagic cormorants, Red Phalaropes, Pomarine jaegers, Parasitic Jaegers, Heerman’s gulls, California gulls, Western gulls, Elegant terns, Common murres, Cassin’s auklets, and Rhinoceros auklets.


Oct 19 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: Izzy Szczepaniak 
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include more than 14 humpback whales, 25 harbor porpoises, and a rare green sea turtle.

Participants on Sunday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise started the day in heavy fog which gave way to perfect sunny skies for the rest of the day. During the trip, passengers got good looks at 14 humpback whales slapping their flippers and breaching. Passengers also saw 25 harbor porpoises and were treated to a rare sighting of a green sea turtle.

Other marine mammals spotted on the trip included harbor seals, California sea lions, and northern fur seals. Species of sea birds sighted on this trip included: Western Grebes, Northern Fulmars, Buller’s Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Brandt’s Cormorants, Pelagic Cormorants, Phalarope sp., Heerman’s Gulls, Western Gulls, Elegant Terns, and Common Murres.


Oct 18 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: Roger Harris 
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include sightings of more than 12 humpback whales.

Participants on Saturday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise began the day with a two hour cruise of the bay. Passengers enjoyed learning about the harbor seals and California sea lions that are prevalent in the bay. At around 10:00 am, the boat headed out the Golden Gate and up the Bonita channel. The weather was warm and sunny, with almost no wind and gentle 4-5 foot swells. Approximately 10 miles off shore passengers spotted two pairs of humpback whales. They got good looks at their backs, blows, and flukes. The blows of another 8 humpback whales were spotted in the distance. Passengers also spotted 5 harbor porpoises on this trip.

Species of sea birds sighted on this trip included: Eared Grebes, Western Grebes, Pink footed Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Brandt’s Cormorants, Pelagic Cormorants, Jaegers, Heerman’s Gulls, Western Gulls, Elegant Terns, and Common Murres.


 

Oct 12 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: Gail Broesder 
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include more than 26 harbor porpoises, many seabirds, and the Blue Angels air show.

Participants on Sunday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise headed north up the coast and then west to the Farallon Islands. During the trip, passengers spotted more than 26 harbor porpoises. At the islands, passengers enjoyed the abundance of migratory bird life.

After returning to the bay a little early due to large swells, passengers were treated to the Blue Angels air show. Other marine mammals spotted on the trip included harbor seals, California sea lions, and Northern fur seals.

Species of seabirds sighted on this trip included: Western Grebes, Northern Fulmars, Buller’s Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Brandt’s Cormorants, Pelagic Cormorants, Phalarope sp., Heerman’s Gulls, Western Gulls, Elegant Terns, and Common Murres.


Oct 5 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: Roger Harris 
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include 4 humpback whales.

Participants on Sunday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise headed west to Southeast Farallon Island in choppy seas and fog. At the islands, passengers enjoyed seeing birds feeding and Common Murre chicks and their dads calling to each other. After visiting the Continental Shelf, the boat headed back on a southerly route towards the Golden Gate. Approximately 7 miles southeast of the Golden Gate, 4 humpback whales were encountered. The whales showed their blows, backs, and occasional flukes. This encounter lasted 45 minutes.

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

Species of seabirds sighted on this trip included: Horned Grebes, Pink-footed Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, Brown Pelicans, Brandt’s Cormorants, Pelagic Cormorants, Heerman’s Gulls, Western Gulls, Elegant Terns, and Common Murres.