Close Encounter with a Grey Whale – 24/4/18

It was a foggy and cold morning as we set out across the bay in search of whales. We heard a report of one in the central bay, so we traveled slowly through in hopes of spotting it. With no spouts, we made our way around Angel Island.

We ended up finding the whale near the immigration station on the east side of Angel Island.

It was a gray whale. We saw a few flukes, but the whale seemed to be lifting only one side of its fluke out of the water, potentially to roll onto its side during the dive.

We reported the whale to vessel traffic and the ferries altered their route to give the whale plenty of space.

We returned on our second trip to find the whale in the same spot.

We didn’t see any flukes from the whale this time. It was spouting once or twice and then diving for a couple of minutes. This was potentially resting behavior.

Two large container ships passed by us. The wind slowly began to pick up

As we left the whale, it was slowly moving north towards Raccoon Straits.

By the time we got back out, the wind had picked up significantly. We started off towards the bridge, then doubled back between Angel Island and Alcatraz. We returned to the spot where we’d previously seen the whale, but didn’t find it.

We headed back towards the bridge when we got a report of a whale by St. Francis Yacht Club. We approached slowly.

On our first sighting, the whale swam within 100 yards of the boat and swam down our starboard side at only about 10 yards away.

It was so close the only thing I could photograph was the sea lice around its blowhole!

After that, the whale surfaced farther away, closer to 100-200 yards.


This post was adapted from a blog, read the original here.

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