If one lovely autumn day you find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area, here’s how to fall in love with the Golden Gate Bridge all over again (and again), discover ancient uninhabited islands rising from the sea, and, if you’re lucky, have coffee with a great white shark.
Early one morning – earlier than you would ever normally consider getting up – hop on a boat docked at the San Francisco waterfront. Glide under the Golden Gate Bridge, hold down your half-digested bagel as you bump through the Potato Patch, and then wait for magic to appear. Twenty-seven miles straight west, far enough away from shore that you might as well be in the middle of the sea, rises a cluster of sharply majestic, jaw-dropping rocky islands. These islands are a haven (and not coincidentally within a National Marine Sanctuary) for countless seabirds, marine mammals, and big ocean predators… including the great white shark. I had the stunning luck to board a boat on a postcard perfect morning and, minutes after rounding the outer side of the Farallon Islands (also known as the Farallones), witness a great white shark attacking an elephant seal pup squarely in front of us. I wish this experience for you.
I will not advocate for one fishing, shark diving, or whale watch tour company over another (the link provided goes only to the Sanctuary website). There are several tour operators, but not too many. Ask if and when they go to the Gulf of the Farallones. Book a ride.