Our Naturalists & Crew

Information & Details

About Our Naturalist & Crew

Every naturalist we use is an expert at narrating. They can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about geology, natural history, sea birds, great white sharks, other sharks, whales, dolphin, porpoises, fish, coastal landmarks, and the Farallon Islands.

If you aren’t sure what you are seeing, feel free to ask. Our trips are meant to heighten awareness and education of all the marine and wildlife around you.

Rachel Brennan Naturalist

Rachel Brennan believes that instilling a love and appreciation for the ocean in others is our best chance at protecting it.

While earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Biology at San Francisco State, she began working at the Aquarium of the Bay and shortly after, the Sea Lion Center as an educator. After graduating she continued to work as a naturalist, aiming to educate the public on the San Francisco Bay and all the animals that inhabit it, as well as the surrounding Pacific Ocean.

She enjoys participating in beach clean-ups, exploring tidepools, and continuing to learn about and study the many different whale species. Working at San Francisco Whale Tours has given her the opportunity to grow her knowledge base further and continue to educate others on the amazing life found underwater while getting to experience it first-hand in the wild.

She hopes to inspire others to promote and work toward ocean conservation by explaining, as well as showing them how significant and beautiful our oceans truly are.

Allison Payne Ocean Enthusiast & Conservationist

Allison Payne has studied whales around the world, including bottlenose dolphins in Spain and Hector’s dolphins in New Zealand.

She collects data from SFWT whale watching trips to contribute to studies at Golden Gate Cetacean Research. Her main interest is in marine mammal cognition and behavior. She started off studying the behavior of squirrels at UC Berkeley and has loved being out in the field ever since. She’s also passionate about science education and hands-on learning experiences.

She loves being on the whale watching boat because every day is a new adventure!

Angelica Patyten Ocean Enthusiast & Conservationist

Hello! My name is Angelica Patyten and I am an avid ocean enthusiast and conservationist!

I have been in love with the ocean and all the life that it harbors for as long as I can remember and I’m always striving to learn more about this amazing place. I achieved an Associate of Science in Marine Science Technology as well as a Bachelors of Science in Marine Biology with a minor in Oceanography within an eight year time span.

I feel truly blessed to be able to educate and inspire others with all the knowledge I have acquired, whether it be on the whale boat or at Aquarium of the Bay. In the time I’m not educating others about the conservation of ocean life, you will find me either on the water as often as possible be it kayaking, snorkeling, or whale watching or under it as I also love to Scuba dive!

What is my favorite animal on the entire planet? Orcas!

Michael Pierson Naturalist

Naturalist Michael Pierson has spent a lifetime compiling information about all things nature.

He has collected ecological data on beaches along our coast for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in their Beach Watch program since 2012, has been called into action by the Oil Spill Prevention and Response team when the worst has happened in the waters of San Francisco Bay and was involved in Natural Resource interpretation with the National Park Service for 5 years.

He enjoys attending lectures and continued education classes at the California Academy of Sciences and you’ll never find him without his binoculars staring up into a tree looking for some amazing species of bird, his ornithological knowledge has been a true asset to our company and he is truly passionate about what he does.