Whale Watching Boat, San Francisco Bay
It's the beginning of whale watching season in Northern California. During the winter months the Gray Whales, one of the oldest species on earth, migrate from their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic to their winter homes in the lagoons of Baja California where they mate and give birth. Their return in late winter and early spring is of particular interest as the whales move slower and closer to shore due to their young calves.

Male Gray Whales measure up to 45 feet and weigh 30 to 40 tons with the females slightly larger. The huge mammals surface every 3 to 5 minutes to breathe but can stay under water for up to 15 minutes at a time. One popular spot for whale watching expeditions is around the Farallon islands of San Francisco's coast. The whales are only one of 23 different species of marine mammals, including elephant seals, sea lions, and dolphins that are found off those waters.

During one whale watching cruise a few years ago our boat came upon a enormous school of maybe a thousand dolphins. As they surrounded and followed our ship they were so dense that, had I been able to freeze time, I could have walked on their backs for a hundred yards in any direction. That remains one of my best Bay Area memories.
[ MAP B-8 ]