Greetings docent crew! This past weekend was busier than the previous one, with docent contacts at 844 on Saturday and 622 on Sunday. Dogs were 11 on Saturday and 10 on Sunday. These were dogs and their owners who would have made a beeline for the beach and would have certainly wandered right up to the seals had not traffic cones and docents been there (along with the actual beach closure). About a dozen surfers on both days.
But the highlight that still has people talking was a sighting on Saturday. Myself and three docents, along with at least five visitors, saw something pop out of the water 2-3 times. Of course, gray whale cow and calf pairs and individual grays have regularly been spotted in the breakers at Limantour Beach and Drakes. But I did not initially think gray whale because I assumed what I saw was a dorsal fin and it was black without barnacles. I next briefly thought maybe it was a humpback? But humpback dorsal fins are shaped differently. Harbor porpoises have blunt shaped dorsal fins but it was eliminated because of the size–much bigger. I naturally thought white shark but the behavior was not the fast, slicing motion I had seen before–which was about 5 years ago at the Farallons when I saw a white shark attack an e seal. So this was very confusing. After reaching out to park experts, including a shark researcher, the ID leans towards a gray whale fluke on its side. The shark researcher does point out that grays are expected in the bay and white sharks are expected to be offshore this time of year. But what do you think? If you have experience seeing sharks and gray whale flukes, please email Carlo and tell him your thoughts! And thanks for volunteering your time and passion to this program and Point Reyes National Seashore!