2013 Whale Watching Trips

Please join SF Bay American Cetacean Society and Oceanic Society for our annual Farallon Islands Whale Watching Trips August 24th and September 15th!

Oceanic Society is being gracious in giving our SF Bay ACS members a discount of $110 per person and a donation to our student research grant fund!

You MUST CALL or EMAIL the office to receive this discount and tell them you are a SF Bay ACS member.  You CANNOT get the discount onlineIf you are not a member it’s easy to join. Just go to: www.acs-sfbay.org, click on membership, and sign up online as a SF Bay ACS member!

Please call or email: Lindsey Roberts, Marine Programs coordinator Oceanic Society @ (415) 256-9941 or Roberts@oceanicsociety.org



The Farallon Islands, just 27 miles off San Francisco, lie amid the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, a food-rich marine ecosystem that attracts whales, dolphins, seals and seabirds each summer and fall, to feed and to breed. Researchers have catalogued hundreds of individual humpbacks and blue whales as seasonal feeding residents. Twenty three species of marine mammals, including eighteen  species of whales and dolphins, can be found here.

The Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge is the largest seabird rookery in the contiguous United States with nesting Tufted Puffins, Pigeon Guillemots, Rhinoceros Auklets, Common Murres and other species. Migratory seabirds such as Shearwaters, Jaegers, and Phalaropes are also attracted by these nutrient-rich waters.  Island beaches are covered with sea lions, including massive Steller’s sea lions, now on the Endangered Species List.

Each trip is led by an expert naturalist who assists with locating whales, identifying seabirds and other marine life, and who provide informative presentations throughout the trip on the islands and marine ecology of the area.

Bird and Marine Mammal Calendar

Spring- Summer (April-Aug):  Western Grebes; Black-footed Albatrosses; Northern Fulmars; Pink-footed, Buller’s, Sooty Shearwaters; Ashy Storm-Petrels; Brown Pelicans; Double-crested, Brandt’s, Pelagic Cormorants; Black Oystercatchers; Red-necked, Red Phalaropes; Pomarine, Parasitic Jaegers; South Polar Skuas; Heermann’s, Herring, Western, Sabine’s Gulls; Caspian, Elegant, Common, Arctic, Forster’s Terns; Common Murres; Pigeon Guillemots; Xantus’s, Craveri’s, Marbled (rare) Murrelets; Cassin’s, Rhinoceros Auklets; Tufted Puffins  Tufted Puffins and general bird diversity  better in May/June/early July.

Fall (Sep-Nov):  Red-throated, Pacific, Common Loons; Eared, Western, Clark’s Grebes; Black-footed Albatrosses; Northern Fulmars; Pink-footed, Buller’s, Sooty, Black-vented Shearwaters; Ashy, Wilson’s (rare) Storm-Petrels; Brown Pelicans; Double-crested, Brandt’s, Pelagic Cormorants; Black, Surf, White-winged Scoters; Black Oystercatchers; Red-necked, Red Phalaropes; Ruddy Turnstones; Pomarine, Parasitic Jaegars; South Polar Skuas; Bonaparte’s, Heermann’s, Mew, Ring-billed, California, Herring, Western, Glaucous-winged, Sabine’s Gulls; Caspian, Elegant, Arctic, Forster’s Terns; Cassin’s, Rhinoceros Auklets; Peregrin Falcon.

Marine mammals are found both in the summer and fall.  Blue Whales, Humpback Whales , Minke Whales; Risso’s Dolphin, Pacific White-sided Dolphin, Northern Right Whale Dolphin; Harbor and Dall’s Porpoises.   California and Steller Sea Lions; Northern Elephant Seal, Northern Fur Seal, Harbor Seal, Sea Otter also possible.

TRIP INFORMATION: http://oceanicsociety.org/farallon%20islands%20season

Full-day whale watching cruises depart from San Francisco at 8:00am, and from Sausalito at 7:15 a.m. aboard the 56-foot Salty Lady, a Coast Guard certified vessel on Saturdays and Sundays, and select Fridays,  from mid-May through November.

FarallonIslands whale watching participants will receive a free DVD, Farallon Islands: Past, Present and Future. Produced by the Oceanic Society in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the film provides a virtual walking tour of the islands, introducing the viewer to the islands’ researchers, refuge staff and former residents as they provide first-hand insights about the wildlife, history , and current conservation efforts. The DVD will be distributed aboard the vessel.


San Francisco Yacht Harbor, Marina Blvd. & Scott St. Reminder: Check-in time is 7:30 a.m., and the boat leaves at 8:00 a.m.

Sausalito Clipper Yacht Harbor on Harbor Drive. Reminder: check-in time is at 7:00 a.m., and the boat leaves at 7:15 a.m.

Duration: Approximately 8 hours.  In order to visit the whale “hot spots,” including the Continental shelf, and have enough time to observe the wildlife at the islands, an 8-hour trip is required.  Itinerary: Under the Golden GateBridge and west to the FarallonIslands. Weather permitting; we visit the Continental Shelf to search for deep water whales.

Vessel: Certified 56-foot Salty Lady. Our whale watching vessel offers an observation deck, indoor seating salon (limited indoor seating) and bathroom. Our captains are experienced in nature cruises.  Passenger maximum: 48.  Clothing:  Warm, layers with water-proof outerwear for sea spray recommended. Age Restrictions:  Age minimum 10; an adult must accompany youths under 15.

Parking: Parking is free in San Francisco and Sausalito 

Food & Refreshments: Bring lunch and beverages.


We look forward to seeing you on board and sharing this special trip with you!


Saturday April 27th:  Please join SF Bay ACS chapter and Oceanic Society for a wonderful Whale watching trip out of Half Moon Bay!

There is one trip going out that day. The time is:  9:00-12:00 with the Naturalist meeting the passengers 1/2 hour before the departure. I, Lynette Koftinow, will be on the trip.

We will have the delight of observing the Gray whale northern migration of mothers/calves and individuals and various other cetacean, sea lion/seals, bird life at this time.

The annual gray whale migration, one of the world’s most magnificent and accessible wildlife spectacles, is underway. Each year approximately 15,000 of an estimated total population of 17,500 gray whales swim south from Arctic feeding grounds, en route to their Baja California breeding and calving grounds. From December through May, gray whales can be observed a few miles off California’s shore, and whale watchers aboard Oceanic Society’s naturalist-led Whale Watch boats have a unique vantage from which to view this incredible “parade.”

Go to: http://oceanicsociety.org/whale-migration-grays 

At title:  “Coastal Gray Whale Watching runs in late March and April out of San Franciscoand December through May..” click on Half Moon Bay to read all information.

The Oceanic Society is being gracious in giving our members a $5.00 discount and a donation to our Student research grant fund!

In order to get the $5.00 discount, Please be sure to call in and  identify yourself as a member of SF Bay ACS. 

If you are not a member please go to: http://acsonline.org/support-acs/become-member/

*Choose your membership level and *chapter as: San FranciscoBay

Look forward to sharing this special day with you – See you on board!

Sunday, January 6th 2013

Please join SF Bay ACS chapter for a special whale watching tour at 8am on Sunday, January 6th. The tour will be roughly 8-9 hours. We plan on following the gray whales from Moss Landing harbor down to Point Lobos (weather permitting).

This tour should provide some great photo opportunities! The landscape is gorgeous and typically January is sunny (cross your fingers!). Last year same time they saw plenty of gray whales, large pods of active common dolphins, and Risso’s dolphins.

The tour’s price is $100 and $90 for students/teachers/seniors/wildlife activists. If you are interested you must sign up online through the Blue Ocean Whale Watch  website: http://www.blueoceanwhalewatch.com. This special trip will only take 30 people instead of the usual 45, so be sure to sign up as soon as possible. Let them know you are with SF Bay ACS chapter! Carpooling will available with me. Look forward to seeing you there!

Special 10% discount for all 4- hour Whale Watching Trips wth Blue Ocean Whale Watch company

To book future 4- hour whale watching trips be sure to tell them you are a SF Bay ACS member or when making reservations online put in code “SFBayACS”. You will receive a 10% discount and 10% will go towards the SF Bay ACS student research grant fund.