Farallon Sanctuary, Sharks & Marine Protection


Join Shark Conservationist and Naturalist David McGuire and other wildlife specialists celebrating sharks and all ocean life on a life-changing expedition into the Gulf of the Farallones for whales, wildlife and our finny friends.

These events are on the US Coast Guard inspected VESSEL AMIGO, departing from San Francisco at the Fisherman’s Wharf.

We meet at the Vessel by 0730 to begin boarding for an 0800 departure. Return is by 4:00PM.

Join us exiting beneath the Golden Gate for amazing photo and wildlife opportunities entering the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary on a modern day Natural History expedition.

These are Farallon Island -ecocentric expeditions. We focus on sharks and shark conservation, and the marine wildlife of the Gulf of the Farallones but we learn about seabirds, whales, jellyfish and all the amazing marine life in our Sanctuary. We are shark specialists and conservationists, not a commercial enterprise, but lead these specialized conservation and education trips during what we call “Sharktober.”

About the Sanctuary

Called the Devils Teeth by ancient mariners, the Farallon Islands are rugged, remote rocky islands host some of the most abundant and diverse marine life in the world. 36 species of marine mammals, including 18 species of cetaceans (whales and dolphins) are found near the islands, most frequently gray whales, blue whales, and humpback whales.

Five species of pinniped come to shore on the islands to feed, and in some cases breed and give birth. These include the northern elephant sealharbor sealSteller’s sea lionCalifornia sea lion, and the northern fur seal (many like the rhinoceros auklet, brown pelican were locally extinct and are now returning to the island after protection). Occasionally we see the smaller Guadalupe fur seal and we hope one day to see the return of the Southern sea otter.

As part of the Fish and Wildlife Refuge system, the Farallon Islands are an important reserve protecting a huge seabird colony. The islands’ position in the highly productive California Current and Eastern Pacific upwelling region, as well as the absence of other large islands that would provide suitable nesting grounds, result in a seabird population of over 250,000. Twelve species of seabird and shorebird nest on the islands; Western GullBrandt’s CormorantPelagic CormorantDouble-crested CormorantPigeon GuillemotCommon MurreCassin’s AukletTufted PuffinBlack Oystercatcher, Rhinoceros AukletAshy Storm-petrel, and Leach’s Storm-petrel.

A major attraction is the feeding aggregation of Great White Sharks, returning after their annual migration each fall from the White Shark cafe in the central north pacific to feed on pinnipeds.

California is the first state in the nation to establish a system of MPAs – similar to national parks and forests on land – to protect and restore ocean habitats and increase the health, productivity, and resilience of ocean ecosystems. Under the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) passed in 1999, California took a regional approach to the design and implementation of MPAs along its 1,100 mile coastline, and divided the state into five regions: the north coast, north central coast, central coast, south coast and San Francisco Bay. The state completed the coastal network of MPAs in 2012, creating over 124 underwater refuges along California’s coast, extending protection from Oregon to Mexico.

Read a brief historyhttps://www.fws.gov/refuge/Farallon_Islands/about/history.html of the Farallon Islands.

More information on the trip is in the attached pdf. (2023 ADVENTURES ARE ON THE VESSEL AMIGO-LOCATED AT FISHERMAN’S WHARF)

These expeditions support the Shark Watch program and are not associated with the Earth Island Institute.