Just like this humpback whale that spotted breaching just outside the Golden Gate last week, ABC 7's chopper was out this morning hovering above the Golden Gate Bridge and captured video of what appears to be a pod of three or four whales in the same area, just outside San Francisco Bay. The full 18-minute video above was posted to the station's Facebook page, and they did a piece today about the phenomenon of humpbacks entering the Bay something that may be a newly learned behavior for just a few enterprising humpbacks who found some good food here last year during their annual migration north.
Though not unheard of, the number of whale sightings in the Bay last May, and extending through the summer, had some experts alarmed simply because the Golden Gate is an especially narrow and dangerous place for the enormous animals, given that it's a busy shipping lane.
Also, pleasure boaters and windsurfers in the Bay have been doing things that are potentially dangerous to themselves and the whales, getting way too close.
"We've seen kite-boarders actually jump them, as though they were just obstacles," says Mary Jane Schramm of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, speaking to ABC 7. "And we've seen windsurfers unfortunately go in, repeatedly, getting closer and closer to the whales."
Those dimwits may want to watch this video of a humpback that decided to breach by surprise right next to a kayaker last year, or this video of a kite-boarder wiping out right next to the flipping tail of a whale, or this video of a pair of kayakers who were nearly crushed by a breaching whale in Monterey Bay.
The whales are making a repeat appearance in SF Bay likely because of a plentiful source of their preferred food, krill and anchovies, and Schramm says, "We are going to be very much on the lookout this year to see if some of the same whales that kept coming in on a regular basis last year are the same ones coming in this year, so it's a newly-learned behavior."
Another possible reason is that the humpback population has been growing, meaning that some whales are seeking out new places to feed.
In any case, keep your distance if you're heading out to photograph them, or heading out on a boat.