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“Lived in the Bay Area for 10 years, boy have I missed a great experience before”

Oceanic Society Farallon Islands Whale Watching
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Attraction details
Owner description: Oceanic Society is a non-profit marine conservation organization founded in San Francisco in 1969. Our San Francisco whale watch programs began in 1972, and have given thousands of people the opportunity to see and learn about the Bay Area's spectacular marine wildlife, including several species of whales, dolphins, seabirds, and much more. We are the only non-profit whale watch operator in the Bay Area, and our trips are used to collect marine research and support local conservation efforts.
Reviewed August 7, 2014

Easy to buy tickets and very helpful staff, Donna, called the day before the trip to tell us we needed to bring our win food and water, dress warmly in layers and if seasick prone, bring meds or patch. Didn't see many whales, only two, but did see the rare mola mola or sunfish, the largest bony fish. Several sightings of numerous sunfish. Sea lions trashing around with seagulls trying to take their food away was fun. It is a full day and tiring as you are always trying to stay balanced with the rocking boat but worth it.

3  Thank IPSAdvisor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
OceanicSociety1969, Director of Outreach at Oceanic Society Farallon Islands Whale Watching, responded to this reviewResponded September 17, 2014

We're thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your trip to the Farallon Islands with Oceanic Society and that you were treated to great wildlife sightings. Thanks for taking the time to write a review. We hope you'll consider joining us again in the future.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (34)
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"common murres"
in 4 reviews
"rough seas"
in 4 reviews
"continental shelf"
in 3 reviews
"blue footed booby"
in 2 reviews
"unusual birds"
in 2 reviews
"small craft"
in 2 reviews
"marine biologist"
in 2 reviews
"fellow passengers"
in 2 reviews
"clear days"
in 2 reviews
"great trip"
in 3 reviews
"sea lions"
in 10 reviews
"golden gate"
in 3 reviews
"day trip"
in 2 reviews
"seasick"
in 10 reviews
"humpbacks"
in 9 reviews
"sightings"
in 3 reviews
"thousands"
in 5 reviews
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27 - 31 of 34 reviews

Reviewed November 16, 2013

You can't fault Captain Jarod(sp?) for trying, the wind and rough seas were really tough, but they really need a non-smoking policy and a more proactive crew. This was really a fishing boat and not really a suitable site-seeing boat, too small and not enough shelter for 8 hours on the open water.

12  Thank Tpcole22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2013

We had talked about taking a trip out to the Farallon islands for a while and finally signed up for this one. I thought the guide did a great job and there were a few really knowlegeable biologists on board who just came along on their day off. Very informative and interesting and fun to see the place. We saw two blue whales and several humpbacks. The captain was really good too at finding whales and positioning the boat so we didn't have to stare into the sun to watch them. We had an exceptionally nice, warm day with very calm seas, but be aware that it could be a rough, cold trip in normal SF weather. Even on a nice day, we were pretty bundled up, so bring several layers to wear under your waterproof outer layer, as well as gloves and a hat that covers your ears and won't blow off. We didn't have any seasickness issues on our boat, but we read it can be a real problem, so save yourself the agony and get some wristbands and dramamine before you go!

6  Thank Mel T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2013

This is worth doing, and we saw whales (my impression is that they see whales often). But be prepared! Warm clothes, even on a warm day, and have rain gear. Water proof shoes too. It's long day and you will be spending it on a real boat. Worth it as long as you are ready.

You need to bring you own food and water (they do have coffee). And if you get seasick, be forewarned.

If you are frail, sorry, this is really not for you. But my wife and I are in our 60s. We did ok. But it was rough going for parts.

10  Thank mghtmck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 30, 2012

Wow - what a wonderful experience!! The Oceanic Society's ocean voyage was the highlight of our week in San Francisco! We were very fortunate to have reasonably decent weather and relatively calm seas but both my husband and I - neither of whom has ever been seasick - took the precaution of taking a dose of non-drowsy Gravol. Didn't think we would need it but always like to be prepared - and they tell you this in the documentation. We staked out our spot in the bow of the boat immediately after the safety instructions and stayed there all day. Started off in rain and fog - bundled up so you could only see our eyes and had to remove our glasses because of the rain. But by the end of the day we both had the worst sunburns on our faces - but still worth every second of discomfort!! We were not even out of the harbour when we saw bottlenose dolphins. Then on the way to the islands - thanks to a sharp eyed young man - we saw a Leatherback Sea Turtle and spent about 10 minutes watching him. As we approached the islands we saw some puffins - my favourites - and as we were going around the main island listening to the sea lions we spotted a gray whale. As we went past the islands it was the most amazing sight - no matter where you looked from the bow of the boat you could see blows. I got more pictures and video of the humpbacks than I ever would have thought - we even got to see them playing and "bubble feeding". Then we saw the taller, slimmer blows and then there were blue whales. We saw a sunfish, merres, an albatross, a bunch of cormorants and seals, sea lions and more puffins - and the little puffball birds whose name I forget at the moment. It was an incredible day and we were very, very fortunate. Now, I realize that not all of the Oceanic Society Expeditions are going to see that much sea life but it is still pretty amazing. And if you follow the instructions that you are given and dress correctly, you should not be cold and shouldn't be seasick. The naturalists on board - and we were lucky enough to have 3 - were very knowledgeable and informative, friendly and helpful. The captain of the Salty Lady was also a wealth of information. I spoke with some "locals" on our trip and some had been 3 or more times and always thought it was great. We are already thinking about our next trip down south and our next Oceanic Society adventure. For our money it is one of the best bargains around but if you are looking for a "pleasure cruise" where you are waited on and pampered look elsewhere. But if you want the information and the "scientific" expedition, then this is the trip for you!! Thanks Oceanic Society!!

10  Thank CountryGal S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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