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“Worst experience of my life!!” 1 of 5 bubbles
Review of San Francisco Whale Tours

San Francisco Whale Tours
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Gulf of the Farallones Whale Watching Excursion
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Attraction details
Owner description: Year-Round Whale WatchingDeparting daily at 8:00am. Join us aboard exciting all day Tours to the Farallon Islands! Our goal is to give people an exciting adventure that they will never forget. Grey Whales,Humpbacks Whales migrate through the sanctuary.The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is one of Earth's unique ecosystems.We want you to experience all that San Francisco has to offer. The marine life sightings are incredible! Whale sightings are our number one goal. We want everyone to feel comfortable and safe on all our trips, so we take every precaution to insure that you are. Our trips are designed for out of town tourists and locals alike. Many people have lived in San Francisco their whole lives, but have never visited the wonders of the Farallon Islands. So please be our guest, keep your eyes peeled for whale spouts, sit back, and enjoy the cruise.No Whale Sighting, the next trip is on Us!
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Worst experience of my life!!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 10, 2014

Over six hours of hell! Should have read the reviews.... Boat too small to avoid severe rocking! At least 25% of guests were vomiting.... Knowledgable tour guide but not good enough to ease my sea sickness....

Visited August 2014
2 Thank marie D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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417 reviews from our community

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Johnson, Arkansas
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“If you come prepared, you'll have a great time.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 16, 2014

I've read some other reviews, and I'll say this: you're out on the Pacific on a boat. If you don't come dressed warmly with waterproof gear and are not prepared for seasickness, that's your own fault. I think that information could be featured more prominently on their website, but you should use common sense and prepare for every situation. There were people on our cruise in shorts (shorts!), which demonstrated an abysmal lack of forethought on their part. Make sure you dress warmly and in weatherproof gear, and you'll be fine.

As far as the trip went, we had a great experience. We saw a variety of animals ranging from sea lions to humpback whales. Like any trip, the people on the boat can't guarantee a sighting, so there were long drags where we didn't see much. However, we were still very lucky. Additionally, the crew was very knowledgable and very safety conscious, which we appreciated! They cared about their passengers and tried to make us as comfortable as possible.

Additionally, this is more of an ecological tour than a touristy whale watching gimmick, which I absolutely appreciated. They didn't chase the animals or harass them in any way, which meant we were sometimes looking at them from quite a distance. Make sure you bring a wide angle lens or binoculars just in case! I wouldn't have it any other way, though.

My one complaint was that we spent a lot of time looking at one humpback, which kept us from going out in open water to see bigger blue whales. I was disappointed about that, and that made the middle of the trip drag on (we weren't in whale waters, so there wasn't much to see until we reentered the bay). However, that is a small complaint. Beyond that, we had a wonderful time and I'd recommend this trip to others.

Visited July 2014
1 Thank Ashley R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“No idea what we was letting ourselves in for...”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 4, 2014

We arrived at Pier 39 at about 7.30am slightly early but ready for the great day we had planned. The lady who sold us the tickets advised us to put a couple of hoodies on to ensure that we were warm. We brought an extra hoodie from the stall to ensure that we weren't to cold.
We boarded the boat, all was fine until we got past the bridge, the water started to get extremely choppy. I know you expect it to be like that slighly, however this got worse and worse as the minutes went on.
The boat started to hit the waves to badly and people were being knocked out of there seats. We had no life jackets on, even though they were on the boat and there were lots of people looking over deck. As the waves got worse myself and my partner became extremely concerned. The crew were great at trying to reassure people, however waves started splashing over the boat meaning we were now sold freezing cold head to toe. It only gets worse as minus 2 people on the boat that day EVERYONE was sea sick due to the horrific conditions. They were hanging over the side (myself included) while the boat was hitting huge waves and they were coming overboard.Surely they knew it was like this before we went. I feel that had waterproof head to toe clothes plus life jackets been provided this would have made the experience a bit better. The fact that you are so so cold and soaked head to toe made you feel even worse. My partner saw a couple of whales and then the boat turned straight back round and headed home.
3 hours there, 3 hours back. Can honestly say one of the worst experiences of my life, I have never seen people look so happy to be back on land. Not worth doing waste of a day!!!!

Visited June 2014
1 Thank Alexandra924
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
“Nice crew no whales”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 29, 2014

Wife and I had this planned for a few months. The day started nice with the sun shining. They spoke of some sea lions in the far distance but you couldn't see them unless you had binoculars, which none of us did. We enjoyed the boat ride for the first three hours (of six). But then the weather turned dark and cold and we wanted it to be over. Many people, roughly 20 percent, were sick, puking and totally miserable. One lady puked on my poor wife. Crew was nice but no whales and I felt they were not honest about our chances. Even then, you will be lucky to see some blow holes in the far distance. With the rough seas and whitecaps, there was no way you could see whale activity further out than say half a mile. I mean, I didn't expect them to sidle up to the boat and wave their flukes. But I did have the idea there were several pods in the area- you know, feeding and such. So.. great views of Golden Gate and Alcatraz but as far as whale-watching, I felt like a dumb tourist who got took.

Visited June 2014
Thank centurion2525
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Midland, MI
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great crew”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 31, 2014

This was an interesting adventure and overall, one that my wife and I were glad to have taken. We and likely others, would probably have benefitted from a bit more information about how to dress and what to bring on the front end as opposed to receiving this information once we had arrived at Pier 39 for the tour itself. Having said that, however, the crew and especially Heather, could not have been any nicer or more knowledgeable. Heather was especially enthusiastic and explained a great deal about the many varieties of birds and sea life we happened to see. We saw the blow of several whales but most of us did not actually see any. Nevertheless, it was a gorgeous day for the trip and we had a wonderful time. Warning: the Bay can be extremely choppy and we had about ten people on our trip who experienced sea-sickness. Be prepared for this and the cool temps if you go out during early Spring.

Visited March 2014
1 Thank PSFarquahr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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