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Farallon Islands Whale Watching Trip!

Please join SF Bay American Cetacean Society and Oceanic Society for our annual Farallon Islands Whale Watching Trips August 24th and September 14th!

Oceanic Society is being gracious in giving our SF Bay ACS members a DISCOUNT!  Tickets are $110 per person and a donation goes toward our 2014 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 online. If you are not a member it’s easy to join. Just go to:, click on membership, and sign up online as a SF Bay ACS member!

Please call or email: Donna Redstone of Oceanic Society @ (415)[masked] or


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.


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.

Farallon Islands 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 Gate Bridge and west to the Farallon Islands. 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!

Lynette Koftinow, Event Host, will be boarding in Sausalito. Not to worry if you are boarding in SF. We will be getting off the boat in SF so we can all be briefed by the naturalist then we will get onboard together. Further meetup instructions as time gets closer.

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  • Lynette R. K.

    Gorgeous day on the water with a variety of sea birds, sea lions, harbor seals, fur seals, humpback whales, mola molas, and of course the gorgeous Farallon Islands!

    August 26, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'd like to try this sometime in the future.
    On a separate note, why did this group switch their age range?

    1 · August 23, 2014

    • Sailor D.

      Hi Sonya, there is another one scheduled on 9/14 if you would like to try it then. Our group is mostly 40+ years of age, and a number of 35 year old people found the group "too old" and we had some complaints and disappointments from that crowd, so we changed it. It's not a hard-and-fast rule, we don't enforce it, we just want people to be happy with the group.

      August 23, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Have you thought about starting the group at 30+ and then more 30 somethings might join? Just throwing the thought out there.

      August 25, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    So many thanks to Lynette, who is an absolute dear. This was a great trip and it was my first time whale watching. It was absolutely fantastic.

    2 · August 24, 2014

    • Lynette R. K.

      Thank you so much for joining us Robert. It was so much fun and what a gorgeous day. You will find that whale watching becomes addicting! Let alone look into my actual SF Bay American Cetacean Society org ( and come to presentations & events to learn about these incredible whales! See you again! Cheers

      August 24, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    It is, unfortunately, sold out.

    1 · August 18, 2014

    • Lynette R. K.

      Fabulous! I will be getting onboard in Sausalito. Will get off in SF and back onboard with everyone there. Bring lots of layers, food, drink, and camera if you're into photography!

      August 19, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I am not sure yet if I am getting on in Sausalito or SF, but I'll be easy to recognize -- I'll be the one carry the harpoon :-)

      1 · August 19, 2014

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