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.


Oct 4 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: Roger Harris 
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include sightings of 4 humpback whales, including a calf/cow pair, more than 100 sea lions, an extremely large Mola mola, and a juvenile Blue Footed Booby.

Participants on Saturday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise enjoyed a beautiful, sunny day with flat seas. At the islands, participants observed feeding flocks of birds and listened to Common Murre chicks and their dads calling to each other. Also at the islands, participants were treated to a rare sighting of a juvenile Blue Footed Booby. Upon leaving the islands, more than 100 California sea lions were encountered heading northwest and were seen porpoiseing as a group. As the boat returned to the Golden Gate, 4 humpback whales were seen diving and feeding off of the Cliff House. This sighting included a calf/cow pair that has been feeding in the general area of seal rock for the past two months.

Other marine mammals spotted throughout the trip included more than 30 harbor porpoises and harbor seals. A very large ocean sunfish (Mola mola) was also spotted during the trip.

Species of seabirds sighted on this trip included: Pacific Loons, Western Grebes, Pink Footed Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Brandt’s Cormorants, Black Oystercatchers, Red Phalaropes, Phalarope sp., Parasitic Jaegers, Heerman’s Gulls, California Gulls, Western Gulls, Elegant Terns, and Common Murres.


Sep 28 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: Pete Winch
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include sightings of 4 humpback whales, 30 Mola molas, and a pod of Risso's dolphins.

Participants on Sunday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise headed west to Southeast Farallon Island in moderate seas. Throughout the day, 30 Mola molas (ocean sunfish), were spotted and passengers got good looks at several of them. A pod of 12 Risso’s dolphins were also spotted and came within 50 feet of the boat. On the return trip, two humpback whales were spotted approximately 15 miles southwest of the Golden Gate Bridge. Passengers got good looks at their backs, blows, and flukes as the animals came within 120 feet of the boat. This encounter lasted 20 minutes. About a half hour later, passengers encountered two more humpback whales that came within 50 feet of the boat. Passengers also got good looks at these whales’ blows, backs, and flukes and the encounter lasted for 15 minutes.

Other marine mammals spotted included over harbor porpoises, harbor seals, California sea lions porpoising within 40 feet of the boat, and Steller sea lions.

Species of seabirds sighted on this trip included: Black-footed Albatross, Pink-footed Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwaters, Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, Brandt’s Cormorants, Parasitic Jaegers, California Gulls, Thayer’s Gulls, Western Gulls, Sabines Gulls, Elegant Terns, 1 Arctic Tern, Common Murres, Pigeon Guillemots, Rhinoceros Auklets, Cassin’s Auklets, 1 Craveri’s Murrelet, and Tufted Puffins.


Sep 21 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: Susan Sherman
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include a minke whale, 5 humpback whales, and a breaching thresher shark.

Participants on Sunday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise headed west to Southeast Farallon Island in flat seas. Approximately 6 miles west of the Golden Gate, a single minke whale was spotted. During the trip, two humpback calf/cow pairs were seen as well as one single humpback whale. Passengers got good looks at their blows, backs, flukes, and side flippers. One calf/cow pair stayed with the boat for 35 minutes, rolling around and showing different parts of their rostrums and throat pleats. During the trip, passengers were also able to view a thresher shark that breached three times.

Other marine mammals spotted included more than 20 harbor porpoises, harbor seals, California sea lions, and Steller sea lions.

Species of seabirds sighted on this trip included: Western grebes, Pink-footed shearwaters, Sooty shearwaters, Brown pelicans, Double-crested cormorants, Brandt’s cormorants, Red phalaropes, Pomarine jaegers, Parasitic jaegers, Heerman’s gulls, Western gulls, Caspian terns, Elegant terns, Common murres, Rhinoceros auklets, and the Northern gannett.


 

Sep 20 2014 (All day)
Farallon Islands

Naturalist: Susan Sherman
Boat: Salty Lady
Highlights include sightings of 3 humpback whales, including a calf-cow pair, and 2 ocean sunfish (Mola molas).

Participants on Saturday’s Farallon Islands nature cruise had a pleasant day on the water with light winds, long, low swells, and good visibility. Approximately 6 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge, passengers encountered one humpback whale showing it back and blows. This encounter lasted 20 minutes. Approximately 12 miles from the Golden Gate, a humpback cow/calf pair was spotted swimming closely together. At one point, the calf showed the underside of its fluke.

Other marine mammals spotted throughout the trip included harbor porpoises, California sea lions, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, and northern fur seals. Two ocean sunfish (Mola molas) were also spotted during the day.

Species of seabirds sighted on this trip included: Pink footed shearwaters, Sooty shearwaters, Buller’s shearwaters, Brown pelicans, Brandt’s cormorants, Pelagic cormorants, Black oystercatchers, Red-necked phalaropes, Parasitic jaegers, Heerman’s gulls, Western gulls, Elegant terns, Common murres, Cassins auklets, Rhinoceros auklets, and the Northern gannett.


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.