Went for a second try at an Oceanic Society whale watching trip to the Farallons and had pretty much the best whale watching experience of my life to date. Whales. Lots and lots of whales, doing crazy things.
This was my second attempt to go whale watching with the Oceanic Society, the first being thwarted by high seas. The first also ended unhappily because no one from the Society showed up at the launch site to let us know about the cancellation. There was a number we were supposed to call to check the status, but my crew and about 8 other people didn't notice this little addendum to our receipts. I was very sour.
This time the ocean was flat, we called the number, and everything was good to go. Launched from Sausalito, picked up the rest in SF, then headed out under the Golden Gate Bridge. Harbor porpoise and tons of grebes around the Gate, and we started seeing murres just outside.
The humpbacks were very active around the islands. The first group we found were breaching like no one's business, and the last swam right up to the boat and played with us for about an hour. Pretty amazing stuff.
Saw some new-for-me sea birds too. The shearwaters were especially hard to pick out from a distance. They look a lot like gulls, and IDing them was sort of a process of elimination based on range, amount of whiteness on the underside, and beak color.