Whales in the CA Delta?

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Jan 13, 2005
Occasionally a whale becomes disoriented on the migration up/down the California coast and ends up in San Francisco Bay. It usually takes authorities a few days to convince the wayward creature to leave. However, in 1985 a humpback whale ventured up the Sacramento River as far as Rio Vista and stayed there for several weeks before he/she could be coaxed back to the bay and the ocean. The whale was quite a tourist attraction and was nicknamed Humphrey by locals. A plaque (see photo) now stands near the river's edge to commemorate the days Humphrey visited Rio Vista. The poem on the plaque reads:

Humphrey the humpback whale, a mighty whale was he.
He swam into the Delta, to see what he could see.
The people stood and stared, the fish were scared.
He was famous across the nation, until they ended his vacation.

The plaque is a short walk from the Delta marina and resort which has severall RV sites overlooking the Sacramento River.

In Antioch, another Delta town, there's a nice restaurant named Humphrey's at river's edge. Humphrey's is located at the Antioch marina and is accessible by boat or road. No RV parking, but there are numerous RV parks on the Delta, within driving distance (by toad).


  • Humphrey2.jpg
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It took another 22 years before two more whales, a mother and calf nicknamed Delta and Dawn, retraced Humphrey's voyage and swam even further up the Sacramento River a few weeks ago. As of this writing, it is believed the whales have made their way back down river into San Francisco Bay and it's hoped they will exit the Golden Gate to the the Pacific Ocean and continue their migration north.

The whales apparently suffered injuries from the propeller of a ship, either before entering the Bay or shortly afterwards, and there was some concern that they were not healing in the fresh waters of the Delta. They were also attracting parasites that would not be present in their natural habitat.
Been following the story for a while now.  Sure  hope they survive.
The whales have been seen in the bay and are less than 10 miles from the Golden Gate and headed in that direction.
They got within 5 miles of the Gate, but have not yet been seen this morning; Weather prevented sighting from above. It's not known if they're still in the Bay or, who knows, if they even turned around.

It will be interesting to see if someone comes up with another poem.
Maybe the Cow is looking for a Flying J to dispose of the calf.  Now the wife could write a poem about that kind of experience LOL
We had a good view of Humphrey back in '85.  We were boating down to San Francisco one Saturday morning and came across Humphrey being guided down the river by several Coast Guard boats. Guess now they will have another restaurant named Delta and Dawn's.
Glad they didn't decide to stop at our house  ;D
Probably right Robert. Humphrey's isn't a bad restaurant. So if Delta & Dawn's will be something similar, it will give us another alternative.
Tom said:
Glad they didn't decide to stop at our house  ;D

Wouldn't that be cool? "Hey, Chris, look out the window....there's a whale by the dock....." "Yeah, sure hon, a whale..."

LOL Wendy. We do get seals in our bay, usually during the winter months. Our fish population makes easy pickings for them.

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