Kayakers in the San Francisco Bay this past Sunday got a bit more than they bargained for when they came across a trio of humpback whales repeatedly breaching nearby. Video, shared by one of group with ABC 7, show the whales erupting from the water with the stunning backdrops of San Francisco and the Bay Bridge.
Lyrinda Snyderman shot the video, embedded below, and told the channel that she was out with her kayaking group when they caught sight of a flock of birds. Expecting to see whales, she focused her attention — however the show Sunday was like nothing she'd ever seen before.
"Oh ho ho wee!," exclaimed Snyderman upon seeing the whales. "Oh my god that was so close!"
"We saw them on occasion," Snyderman later explained to the channel, before going on to describe the scene in detail. "Three at once coming up from the bottom like a Polaris missile with their mouths open to capture all the water. We had never seen this behavior before in the bay."
This is just one of many unusual sightings of humpbacks in the Bay this spring and summer. And, as we mentioned previously, the sightings are fun but they are actually some cause for concern as the behavior is atypical though the whales are apparently being drawn by an abundance of food where it wouldn't normally be, in this case probably herring, which these seagulls were likely also feasting on last week.
A spokesperson for the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary spoke to the Chronicle in May about the Bay whale sightings, and we imagine her words still apply.
“I’ve been in this game for a lot of decades, and this is the first time I’ve heard of this many humpbacks coming in this far,” said Mary Jane Schramm. “If they head any direction except west they could get into big trouble. The deeper they get into the bay, the more acoustically confusing it becomes.”
While this video is definitely awe inspiring, it's important to remember that experts say you should never get closer than 300 feet to a whale. And definitely, definitely don't kite-surf next to them.