A pod of 14 killer whales has taken a shine to the Golden Gate.
For the second time in a week, whale watchers returning from a boat trip to the Farallon Islands Marine Sanctuary gawked at the black-and-white mammals Saturday.
The latest sighting occurred near the pilot station about 10 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge, according to Capt. Tom Bernot. There were 41 people aboard the Kitty Kat, and Bernot said he couldn’t figure out who was watching whom.
“They’re curious,” Bernot said. “They come up to the boat and watch the people as they watch them. They were having some fun. There was some tail slapping and maneuvers to the side.”
Sightseers saw the same pod Wednesday at about 8 a.m. when the tour was halfway between the Golden Gate Bridge and the Farallon Islands. Bernot said he saw the same pod of killer whales in 2009, but that he usually only sees one or two a year, and not in such a large group.
The appearance of the orcas near the Bay has prompted discussion among marine biologists. While not rare to see them as far south as Monterey Bay, killer whales often don’t migrate this far south until March or April.
Whale-watching trips departing from Pier 39 cost $79, according to the owner of San Francisco Whale Tours, Joe Nezar. There are no guarantees that whales — orcas or otherwise — will be sighted on the trip.