Each year, Shearwater Journeys offers trips to the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. These islands are home to the largest breeding seabird colony south of Alaska in the United States about 30 miles off San Francisco.
Our main target is the charismatic Tufted Puffin and we have a 100% success rate. Our stable catamaran departs from Sausalito and sails under the Golden Gate Bridge. In the morning the bridge is often enshrouded in fog. However, in the afternoon, we usually enjoy gorgeous, sunny views of one of California's major icons as well as the unique skyline of the City of San Francisco. Sailing under the bridge is an amazing experience all in itself.
In addition to the Tufted Puffins, we usually see all three species of cormorants; Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, and Cassin's and Rhinoceros Auklets. Unusual seabirds sighted during our trips have included: Laysan Albatross, Brown Booby, Blue-footed Booby, and Northern Gannet.
If conditions allow, we'll venture to the edge of the Continental Shelf where we often find Black-footed Albatross, Sooty and Pink-footed Shearwaters; Sabine's Gull, and Arctic Tern. Last year, we found Scripps's Murrelets!
Six species of marine mammals breed or haul out at this refuge: Northern and Guadalupe fur seals; Steller's and California sea lions; Northern elephant seal and harbor seal. Humpback whales are almost always encountered, and gray, blue, fin and killer whales are sometimes found. The area is rich with marine life. Leaders on board gladly share the natural history of the islands, as well as the human history.
These trips sell out months in advance every year. Please book early to avoid disappointment. Make a weekend of it and combine a Farallon trip with the August 2 Monterey pelagic trip or the August 10 Half Moon Bay pelagic trip.