Check it, our very own Oceanic Society is kicking off annual Farallon Island whale watching season on May 26, 2012.
All the deets:
“WHALE WATCH/NATURE CRUISES TO FARALLON ISLANDS BEGIN MAY 26
San Francisco, California – Oceanic Society’s educational day long boat trips to the Farallon Islands, just 27 miles west of San Francisco, will operate May 26 through November 25, with departures available from San Francisco and Sausalito.
Blue whales (the largest animal to have ever lived on earth), Humpback whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, Harbor porpoises, Risso’s dolphins and Northern right whale dolphins all may be encountered during the whale-watch cruises to the islands and the nearby continental shelf.
An exceptional wilderness area, the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge is the largest seabird rookery in the eastern Pacific south of Alaska – including nesting Tufted puffins, Pigeon guillemots, Rhinoceros auklets, Common murres, Black oystercatchers and cormorants. The Islands are also a breeding haven and home to California sea lions, northern elephant seals, Steller sea lions, Harbor seals and fur seals.
Though only scientists are permitted on the islands, the abundance of wildlife may be closely observed and photographed from aboard the Salty Lady, Oceanic Society’s 56-foot, Coast Guard-certified vessel. The boat holds 48 passengers.
Experienced naturalists lead each excursion to help identify seabirds and locate whales and interpret their behavior. The naturalists also provide informal discussions on marine wildlife and on the history of the islands. Passengers also benefit from the presence of whale researchers from the Cascadia Research Collective, scientists who have studied these whales since the early 1990’s.
Oceanic Society trips to the Farallon Islands depart Saturdays, Sundays and select Fridays from the Marina Green in San Francisco. Trips begin at 8 a.m. and last about eight hours. Passengers also have the option of departing at 7:15 a.m. from the Sausalito Clipper Yacht Harbor. The minimum age is 10, and an adult must accompany children under 15. Participants supply their own food and beverages.
The fee is $125 per person, with special group rates available. The fee includes a copy of “The Farallon Islands: Past, Present, and Future,” a 42-minute DVD produced by the Oceanic Society in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The DVD offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the natural and human history of the Farallon Islands and provides a virtual land tour of the islands. (Additional DVDs cost $15.)
Founded in 1969, the mission of the Oceanic Society is to protect marine wildlife and oceanic biodiversity through an integrated program of scientific research and environmental education. An official partner of the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge, Oceanic Society has offered educational whale-watch cruises since 1984 and is the only nonprofit organization that offers whale-watch trips year round in the Bay Area.
Reservations for the Farallon Islands whale-watch trips are advised. Please call 415- 256-9941 or 800-326-7491 or register atwww.oceanicsociety.org. For recorded information on current wildlife sightings, call 415-258-8220.
Sea you there!