Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association protecting our ocean wilderness through public stewardship

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Danish technology helps FMSA

Whale Watch save the date

Meet our Supporters

Wildlife Spotlight: Velella velella

Have your next event here!

Get to Know Pinnacle Gulch

Donate to FMSA today!


FMSA Events


July 26
Whale Watch Sanctuary Exploration - filled!


August 2 - Get into Your Sanctuary Day

Join us at our Crissy Field Visitor's Center for our family programs:

What's a "NURDLE?" Come to our "Drifters" plankton and marine debris program to find out about these mysterious plastic pellets. Registration required: justin.holl@noaa.gov


Come trawl for plankton and see wondrous zooplankton and phytoplankton at our "Drifters" plankton and marine debris program. Registration required:justin.holl@noaa.gov


August 1st and 15th
Participate in hands-on restoration on Kent Island, in Bolinas Lagoon. Every 1st Friday and 3rd Saturday of the month. Contact Kate for more information and to RSVP atkbimrose@farallones.org.


August 20th
Sanctuary Advisory Council meeting at the Half Moon Bay Yacht Club


October 18th
SharktoberFest returns!

October 26th
Our annual Whale Watch Fundraiser - joins us for a great day of whale, dolphin, sea lion, seal and bird watching while supporting our important work!

Sanctuary Visitor Center

Open Weds-Sun, 10 am - 4 pm

Join us for anumal feeding at noon every Saturday. Find out about upcoming school and family programs online.







Danish students use technology to promote the Sanctuary



From February through May FMSA collaborated with five Media and IT students from the Lillebaelt Academy of Higher Education in Odense, Denmark. Utilizing their tremendous skills in technologies, the five students accomplished a number of valuable project for the Association and Sanctuary, including including 3D computer models of marine wildlife (coming soon!) and short videos on our programs including Beach WatchLiMPETSOcean Climate Initiativeon site educationSanctuary Excursions and a video infographic on the impressive Ocean Sunfish or Mola mola, which premiered at our last Sanctuary Soiree.




Save the Date! Whale Watch Fundraiser on October 26th

The Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association (FMSA) invites you, your family and friends to join us for an adventure filled day exploring the rich habitat that is Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.  This exploration and whale watch trip is expected to raise over $10,000 to support FMSA's work to protect and promote this unique ocean Sanctuary.
In addition to numerous whale species, the Sanctuary is home to dolphins, seals, sea lions, sharks, the largest seabird colony in the lower 48 states and much more.  You will be lead by Captain Joe Nazar, owner of San Francisco Whale Tours, who is generously contributing his boat Kitty Kat for the daylong outing. Sanctuary Naturalist Peter Winch will provide a world of information about the Sanctuary's history, resources, sea life, programs and the conservation challenges it faces. Your tax deductible contribution of $275 per person includes the boat trip, naturalist-lead education, discussion and wildlife spotting, FMSA membership, a new member gift item, continental breakfast, light lunch and beverages.   Please register today - space is limited and we expect this trip to fill quickly! For more information, contact Chris Kelley at 415.561.6624 x314 or email ckelley@farallones.org


Meet our Supporters - Gwen Toney

 I have had many first birds on “our” beach and every one of them has a great story.  Identifying the dead can be a challenge but more like a mystery to be solved these days.

What I love best about Beach Watch, besides the great learning experience and wonderful beach partners, it’s that every time we go out, we never know what we will find (alive or dead) and it is always exciting.  One of my favorite stories is when Joan and I, both with our scopes at the marsh, describing what we were seeing and debating what we saw.  I could swear I saw a Sora and she had a Virginia Rail – we discussed the color and shape of the bills of the birds and right then they crossed paths – we were both right.  Right then a Ferruginous Hawk flew overhead and we lost our marsh birds but caught a Peregrine Falcon swooping down on a shorebird.  We’d thought we’d died and gone to heaven – such bliss.
I can’t say enough about my beach partners and the program itself.  I feel incredibility blessed to have this opportunity to work and play with the best.  I have learned so much and continue to learn more all the time. I am so impressed with the level of volunteers with FMSA, I have met so many awesome people from so many different walks of life, all very special.  The continuing education keeps getting better and now I’m learning to identify gulls - with the help of my beach partners.


Have your next event at the Sanctuary!

Are you planning a party, event or looking for the perfect spot from which to view Fleet Week? The Sanctuary Campus is now available for private events - enjoy exclusive access and stunning views of San Francisco's skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the Bay (Click the link to see a short video tour of the facilities). For more information contact Chris Kelley at 415-561-6625 x314 or ckelley@farallones.org.


Wildlife Spotlight - Velella velella


Velella velella, also known as "By-the-wind-sailor" has recently reappeared in the Sanctuary. This interesting invertebrate is a hydroid polyp.  It is bluish purple in color with a clear oval-shaped float and a triangular sail projecting vertically out of its body.  The sail is uniquely S-shaped (looking down on it), so the organism can catch wind on both sides of its “sheet.”  Like with the sail on a human craft, the pressure gradient will propel the animal on its journey across the ocean. Keep a sharp look out for these creatures that have been washing up on local beaches recently, and learn more on our website. (Photo from the Dru Devlin/ACCESS Partnership)


Get to know our Beaches - Pinnacle Gulch

Tucked into the reaches of our northern survey zone, is Pinnacle Gulch Beach aka 107, just southeast of Bodega Harbor in Bodega Bay, CA. A half-mile trail descends through the steep gulch which is fed by a seasonal stream, and lined with cypress, wax myrtle, willows, coastal scrub, berries and other brush. Wildflowers are abundant in spring and summer.The trail takes you down to the beach where, you immediately happen upon Pinnacle Rock, inhabited by seasonal nesting cormorants and pigeon guillemots.The beach is dotted with interesting bluffs, tide pools, and offshore rocks, making it a great place for viewing black oystercatchers, surfbirds, a variety of large shorebirds, black turnstones, and the occasional wandering tattler. Harbor seals and the occasional gray whale are seen as well. 

Beach information provided by Beach Watch and Sonoma County Parks






© 2005-2006 Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association. All Rights Reserved. Last updated 02/04/15.

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