A world class wildlife spectacle is taking place near Half Moon Bay (only 15 miles south of San Francisco). Anchovies are schooling immediately south of Pillar Point Harbor. Humpback whales, pelicans, & other birds are feasting on the schools of fish. The whales are as close as 25 yards from shore.
The humpback feeding frenzies are not to be missed. Pods of humpback herd the fish and launch themselves 90% upwards from the ocean. Humpback big gulps are much bigger than the 7-11 counterpart. Some humpbacks lunge feed with their heads out of the water. Other serenely skim and swim back and forth along Half Moon Bay showing off their dorsal fins and blow holes.
While the whales are visible from CA 1, the best viewing spots are the bluffs above Surfer’s Beach, Mirada Surf (San Mateo County Park), Half Moon Bay State Beach, and Pillar Point Harbor breakwater. The California Coastal Trail connects the parks. Swarming birds are one sign that the fish & whales are near. Onlookers standing onshoree or kayakers in the water are another signal.
The high number of whales feeding near the San Mateo Coast & in San Francisco Bay is rare. It is unclear how much longer the anchovies and whales will stay so close to shore. Take advantage of the longer days and watch the feeding frenzy in person.