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Whale Watching / Bird & Nature / Coastal Viewing

Humpback Whales April - November

Found in oceans and seas around the world, Humpback Whales are baleen whales, and typically migrate up to 16,000 miles each year. The species' diet consists mostly of krill and small fish. Humpbacks have a diverse repertoire of feeding methods, including the spectacular bubble net fishing technique.

The Humpback Whale is one of the most energetic whales alive. One of the larger species, adults range in length from 40–50 feet. and weigh approximately 79,000 lbs..  It is an acrobatic animal, often breaching (leaping out of the water) and slapping the water. The act of leaping generates more power than any other act performed by a non-human animal. The whale usually lands on its back and the breach is followed by a violent exhalation from the blowhole. Males produce a complex whale song, which lasts for 10 to 20 minutes and is repeated for hours at a time. The purpose of the song is not yet clear, although it appears to have a role in mating.

The Humpback has a distinctive body shape, with unusually long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. Humpback Whales can easily be identified by their stocky bodies with obvious humps and black dorsal coloring. The head and lower jaw are covered with knobs called tubercles, which are actually hair follicles and are characteristic of the species. The tail flukes, which are lifted high in the dive sequence, have wavy rear edges.  The long black and white tail fin, which can be up to a third of body length, and the pectoral fins have unique patterns, which enable individual whales to be recognized


Some of my whale watching trips are scheduled directly through the Oceanic Society.  Private individual trips or charters for Whale WatchingNature/Bird Cruises and Coastal Viewing Cruises are available as well, both whole day and half day.  Half Moon Bay trips are usually three hours, up to two trips a day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. e.g. 9:00 am - 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  All day trips can be scheduled as well. All day bird watching and nature trips can be scheduled as well.

Gray Whales / Bird & Nature / Coastal Viewing

Gray Whales January - May

The Gray Whale (or Grey Whale) is a whale that travels between feeding and breeding grounds yearly. It reaches a length of about 52 feet, a weight of 36 tons and an age of 50–60 years. Gray Whales were once called Devil Fish because of their fighting behavior when hunted. The Gray Whale is one of the oldest species of mammals, having been on Earth for about 30 million years.

Two Pacific Ocean populations of Gray Whales exist: one of not more than 300 individuals whose migratory route is unknown, but presumed to be between the Sea of Okhotsk and southern Korea, and a larger one in the Eastern Pacific traveling between the waters off Alaska and the Baja California.


Gray Whales are a dark slate-gray in color and covered by characteristic gray-white patterns, scars left by parasites which drop off in the cold feeding grounds. They lack the numerous prominent furrows of the related species, instead bearing two to five shallow furrows on the underside of the throat. The Gray Whale lacks a dorsal fin, instead bearing several dorsal 'knuckles.'


In the fall, the Eastern Pacific, or California, Gray Whale starts a 2–3 month, 5,000–7,000 mile journey south along the west coast from Alaska to Mexico. The animals travel in small groups. The destinations of the whales are the coastal waters of Baja California and the southern Gulf of California, where they breed and the young are born. It is believed that the shallow waters in the lagoons there protect the newborn from sharks.


After several weeks, the return trip starts. This round trip of 14,000 miles, at an average speed of 10 km/h, is believed to be the longest yearly migration of any mammal. 


The whale feeds mainly on bottom dwelling crustaceans, which it eats by turning on its side (usually the right) and scooping up the sediments from the sea floor. It is classified as a baleen whale and has a baleen, or whalebone, which acts like a sieve to capture small sea animals including amphipods taken in along with sand, water and other material. Mostly, the animal feeds in the northern waters during the summer; and opportunistically feeds during its migration trip, depending primarily on its extensive fat reserves.

Bird Watching & Nature Cruises

Year Around

The Farallon Islands support an astounding number and diversity of breeding California seabirds; and in 2000, recorded the world's largest breeding colonies of Ashy Storm-Petrel (2500+ pr.), and some of largest aggregations of breeding Brandt's Cormorant (5500+ pr.), Western Gull (nearly 20,000 pr.), Pigeon Guillemot (800+ pr.) and Cassin's Auklet (15,000+ pr.).


Bird sightings may include: Western grebe, Brown pelican, Double-crested cormorant, Brandt's cormorant, Pelagic cormorant, Black oystercatcher, Brown pelican, Sotty shearwater, Red-necked phalarope, Pink-footed shearwater, Western gull, Elegant tern, Common murre, Cassin's auklet, Rhinoceros auklet, Tufted puffin, and Pigeon guillemot.

Mammal sightings, include: Humpback Whales, Harbor Porpoises, Steller Sea Lions, Harbor Seals, Dall’s Porpoise, White Sided Dolphins, Harbor Porpoise, Elephant Seals, Northern Fur Seals, Harbor Seals and California Sea Lions, Grey Whales, Killer Whales and Rizzo Whales.

In addition to the mammals and birds, you are likely to be delighted by other sea creatures, such as the Mola Mola (Sunfish) pictured the the right.

The Farallon Islands

Year Round

The Farallon Islands, 27 miles out in the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco, lie amid the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, a food-rich marine ecosystem which attracts whales, dolphins, seals and seabirds each summer and fall, to feed and to breed. Island rocks are covered with sea lions, including massive Steller's sea lions, now on the Endangered Species List. The Farallon Islands were established as a refuge in 1909 by President Theodore Roosevelt.

The Farallon Islands, National Wildlife Refuge, is sparsely inhabited by scientists who stay in housing including the two houses above. Marine scientists live on the island up to three months at a time, isolated from the mainland, record island activities in their roles as wildlife guardians. 

The islands are home to thousands of seals and sea lions. The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary is a bountiful marine ecosystem attracting endangered whales, sharks and huge schools of dolphins. Twenty-three species of marine mammals, including 20 species of whales and dolphins, can be found here.  
During June and July, California and Steller's sea lions pup at the islands and many more animals are seen hauled out on the rocks. Northern Fur Seals also breed here during the summer and are considered one of the success stories for the sanctuary and refuge since they were almost completely wiped out by fur traders in the late 1800's.   

Weddings & Other Parties Wine & Cheese Cruises Coastal Viewing Cruises Year Round

Year Round

Looking for a team building event?  Or maybe just a good time with friends for a memorable occasion?  Try a Wine and Cheese Cruise or even local Coastal Viewing Cruise.  Read the article below about the Mavericks Event.  Pigeon Point Lighthouse is about 18 miles by water.  Get a new perspective on the Central California Coast!  Take a ride on the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary!  Look for Sea Otters, Harbor Seals, Sea Lions, Pelicans, Murre birds, Cormorants, Whales, Dolphins and more!

Get your friends or co-workers together, get hors d'oeuvres and beverages of your choice.  If you do not feel like bringing the food and beverage, ask us!  There are local caterers, or we may be able to pick things up to help your event be successful!  We can cruise the inner harbor where waves are not an issue.  $200 per hour with a three hour minimum.  


Weddings!  Birthday parties!  Graduations!  Take friends or relatives on the water!  The Huli Cat has a CD system, so bring some CD's and let's cruise! 

Scattering of Ashes

Year Round

One of our special services is to help you to respectfully and economically memorialize your loved ones with scattering of ashes on the beautiful and scenic Pacific Ocean. Care and respect are foremost, and we will work closely with you to make certain that your needs for your loved one are met.  We understand that that this is one of the most difficult times a person can face.  In remembrance of the occasion. The services can be attended or unattended. Details are available for the arrangement of shipping remains. 

Huli Cat is in full compliance with all applicable government regulations. The service is provided by Coast Guard Licensed Captain, Tom Mattusch, who is a State of California Licensed Cremated Remains Disposer (License Number CRD 361).

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