Seattle Whale Watching Conservation

San Juan Islands Whale Watching
Blog & Photos

April 23rd, 2014

An Amazing Transient Encounter 4/23/14

So, this time of year we frequently leave the dock without any reports of whales.  And some days we get lucky and someone finds them as we leave the dock.  Today, we left the dock without any reports.  A gray whale had been spotted near Anacortes, but couldn’t be relocated.  So we decided to head north where there always seems to be lots of great wildlife and scenery to view.  And wouldn’t you know it, 20 minutes after leaving the dock, we get a report of 5-6 orcas way up north of Active Pass.  A long run, but we decide to go for it!  But the best laid plans and all…wouldn’t you know it–totally unknown to everyone out today–a very active group of 9 Transient (mammal-feeding) orcas were just waiting for us in Boundary Pass!

One of my “bucket list” whales I’ve heard about but never seen is a big male named T63, or as he is more commonly known–Chainsaw (how tough and cool is that name?!)  So I was very excited to finally see this whale, and he is HUGE!  He gets the name from the fact that his dorsal fin looks like he ran into a chainsaw.  Very distinctive.  He was in the company of 8 other Transients from a total of 4 different families (T63, T65 group, T36A group, and some of the T124s).

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And this group was in a very social, and boisterous mood.  It’s always exciting to see the many behaviors orcas exhibit, and this group showed nearly every behavior, some repeatedly!  We had a few spyhops, a bunch of tail lobs, porpoising, a triple tail stand, and unexpectedly–106 Breaches.  Yes, one hundred and six!  It was amazing to see Transients behaving much like Residents do.

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The hour we had with this group went by far too quickly, and soon it was time to explore the other amazing sights.

We had the chance to see 100s of Harbor Seals hauled out on Sentinel Rocks while an immature bald eagle stood watch over them.

We had the great opportunity to view the Mouflan Sheep (and their large group of new babies) and even a solid white Fallow Deer, and a few Japanese Siika deer.  And to top it off, we thought we’d observe a few Steller Sea Lions, but one came so close he was actually observing US!

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It is always a thrill to be out on the water, and I love the fact that every trip is unique, and we never know what to expect.  A lot of fun introducing our passengers to this beautiful area.  And a big thanks to Captain Nancy for bringing her luck on her first trip of this summer!

John Boyd (JB)
SSAMN Marine Naturalist, Western Prince

April 12th, 2014

Seeing Double??

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We are off on this fabulous Saturday in April to see what we can see…and we see a lot!  We are not far into our trip this afternoon….just enjoying the massive Steller sea lions up at Green Point, when these two Transient orca whales are found minutes from our position!

Steller sea lions hauled out on the rocks
The sea lions are in a huge debate as to who is “king of the rock” today and we watch them push and shove each other around physically and add emphasis vocally!

The two Transient orcas we find today are identified as T49C and T77A, both males, both with the same size dorsal fin and amazingly, both with double notches out of the trailing edge of the dorsals!?  It’s easy to call them “the twins” yet they are not even from the same family.

Hunting together
We are lucky enough to watch them for an hour as they travel through the San Juans, exhibing some hunting behavior, circling around, doubling back, speeding up, slowing down, crossing over, deep dives…and surprise surfacings.
Hello Harbor seals!
Harbor seal…shy guy?
There are many Harbor seals hauled out today.  What great camouflage coloration!
Moma or Papa Bald eagle on nest duty!
The eagle count for today stands at 7 by the time we reach home.  We find two active nests with adult eagles tending to nest duties.  We will be watching these nests for the next two months for signs of eaglets.

Along the banks of Cactus Island we come across a River otter scrambling up from the water.  The otter doesn’t seem to notice us and spends a lot of time posing on the rocks.

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Lots of sea birds abound today…Harlequin ducks, Comorants, Black oyster catchers and of course Gulls!  As it turns out, our route takes us back to the harbor and right past the Transient orca twins again!  They are still in hunting mode, cruising close to shore.  They even poke right into Friday Harbor!
Transinet male orca in San Juan Channel
This is my first day for the 2014 season and it’s a great one!  What a fabulous beginning to what feels like a great summer season ahead!

April 3rd, 2014

April in the San Juans

Springtime brings us some brilliantly diverse weather and wildlife. We have been out on the water quite a bit lately and every time we see something different. The weather has provided us with both blue sunny skies and glassy calm waters, contrasted with days of steely gray clouds and light choppy seas. We have so far been lucky to have timed the majority of our tours around any rain showers. Transient Orca whales have been found in the area several times, while our tour highlights have included groups of playful Dalls porpoise and a stunning day with Pacific Whitesided Dolphins. These beautiful and social animals are not commonly seen in our area but this Spring has been an exciting exception. We hope they stick around to surprise us from time to time. Bald eagles are nesting right now and there are several sites where we have been able to see them sitting (hopefully) atop their eggs. Steller Sea lions continue to hang around in a couple of their favorite places giving us great viewing opportunities of these massive animals, and harbor seals are often hauled out on smaller reefs and islands. The Salish Sea is truly a wonderful place to explore. Tours daily at NOON!

March 22nd, 2014

Spring 2014

It’s Springtime finally and we are up and running for the season and very excited to be doing so!!
Wildflowers and mushrooms are popping up all over, fruit trees are budding and blooming, and the islands are greener than ever.
Trips in March and April can bring all sorts of surprises, and though every day is an adventure out there, that sentiment is especially true right now.
In the last few weeks there have been many interesting travelers through island waters. Steller Sea lions and harbor seals are fairly reliable sightings in early spring, but there has also been sightings of Transient (mammal eating) orcas, and especially exciting for us here in the Salish Sea there has been a large group of Pacific White- sided dolphins plying the waters around us…
Add to that some encounters with Dalls porpoise, lots of Bald eagle activity and numerous other seabirds, we look forward to each day we spend on the water.
Tours daily at NOON…come join us!

October 11th, 2013

Humpback Heaven

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What luck!  As we leave the dock we know that some Canadian boats have located Humpback whales.  Could they be the same ones we had the opportunity to watch yesterday?

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It doesn’t take too long to spot the fin that is “split” and yes, the whale swimming next to Split Fin is Split Fluke.  Fast friends?

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Today the whales are more surface active and the water starts to erupt with whale action.  Here’s a big “tail stand”!  There is a lot of fluke slapping, first one and then the other.  But….suddenly….

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….a whale bursts through the calm surface and explodes into the air!  We are lucky to witness two breaches from these two whales.. trying to out do each other?

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There’s that split in the fluke again!  Amazing to be able to recognize Humpback whales in our waters.  I know I saw one of these two whales two years ago in October as well.

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Headed home we come across these Harbor seals swimming around in a kelp bed.  Good disguise?  For a moment it’s hard to separate seal heads from the bulbs on the top of the kelp plants!

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One more glimpse of a seal taking advantage of a perfect resting spot along the shore.  We also spot Bald eagles, Dall porpoise and Harbor porpoise!  Perfect afternoon on the water!

October 10th, 2013

Shades of Grey….Great Day!

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A lovely Pacific Northwest grey kinda of day is a perfect match for the wildlife out and about today.  These Harbor seals greeted us as we cruised by their haulout.

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This Common murre in winter plumage skims over the surface near our boat.

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Ahhh!  Two Humpbacks are sighted to the south…way to the south…but we are excited to see if we can find these two whales.  We’re off!  There are no boats with the whales, so it’s a challenge to try and think like a Humpback, navigating around our waters!

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We spot the “blow” from the wheelhouse and soon are in the company of two whales we recognize!  It’s Split Fin and Split Fluke.  Look carefully at the left side of the fluke…see the “split” along the edge?

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Here they are together, side by side, about to make a dive in tandem.  We watch these magnificent whales for a long time and marvel at the sheer size!  As long…longer?…as our boat?

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We are now clearly, going all the way around San Juan Island in this trip!  Lucky, as this route takes us right past a major Steller sea lion haul out site.  These massive sea lions show off their size and vocal ability as we slowly pass.

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Not exactly “grey”…no, definitely, brown…big, bossy and and full of bravado!

Another lovely day in the waters of the Salish Sea!

October 6th, 2013

Sunny, Sunday Afternoon

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There’s good news today!  Orca whales are spotted and they are not too far away.  Then there is bad news…they disappear into the fog.  It seems so funny, because at the marina it’s bright and sunny.  Fog is a distant memory from days ago.  Off we go…

On our way down San Juan Channel we find Harbor seals hauled out in a favorite spot and a beautiful adult Bald eagle in a tree on shore.  It’s still sunny.  We round the corner and a Steller sea lions surfaces in some current.  It’s still sunny.  In fact, now there is sunshine and blue sky everywhere we look.  And…it doesn’t take long to look at Orca whales!

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Look who is looking back at us!  This turns out to be the same two groups of Transient Orca whales we watched yesterday.  Today they have hunting on the program and they are really active.  Although we can’t see exactly what they are chasing…

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Here’s a big tail slapping on “something”!

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There are quick turns and circling behavoir, plus a few amazing cartwheels and spy hops.  The youngster is a master at the mini spy hops!

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The weather, water and whales…all a fantastic combination on a sunny, Sunday afternoon.  October wildlife viewing proves once again to be amazing!

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October 5th, 2013

A Whale-O-Rama Kind of Day!

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This day starts with great news even before we leave the dock!  Orca whales are spotted off the south end of the island early in the morning.  On this brilliant October day, the water is calm and the sky bright.  We’re off!

After a stop to take a look at the Steller sea lions and Harbor seals we head out into Haro Strait.  We find four Orca whales headed north at a good clip.  The longer we are with them, the more fins appear.  We discover two groups of Transient Orca whales traveling together.

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Here’s a mom and calf traveling side by side.  A lot of fast action occurs by the shore and someone’s camera lens captures “something” tossed in the air.  Perhaps a seal?

We have the luxury of watching the whales for a long time as they speed to the north.  Just a bit to the north and west another boat has found two Humpback whales!  We’re off again!

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Today we find a Humpback nicknamed “Big Momma” traveling with “Split Fin.”  With the Transient Orca so close we wonder what will happen?

Then yet another Humpback turns up and we get a quick look at this whale too!

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How can this day get any better?  Oh….but it does, as we find Dall porpoise!

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A few Harbor seals occupy the rocks near Spieden Island.  We get a look at the exotic game animals on the hillside, search the water for sea lions and porpoise…but it’s really time to head back to Friday Harbor….visions of whales held in memory…and on film!

October 4th, 2013

Hoping for Humpbacks!

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We are off of an afternoon of wildlife discovery at noon!  The water is flat and glassy calm.  Today we leave with a sense that Humpback whales are around as some had been seen yesterday far to the north.

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We are rewarded with a Humpback surprise much closer than the reports had suggested!  And the best part is…..we recognize these TWO whales!  It’s “Split Fin” and “Big Momma”!  Here’s a photo of Split Fin…and you can easily see why the nickname.

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We have the pleasure of being in the company of two Humpback whales for a lovely afternoon in Haro Strait.  Then the Dall porpoise come to tease us.  There are many groups today!  And another Humpback on our way north around the island!  AND a lovely Bald eagle graces a hillside tree on Henry Island.  Our English and Australian guests are really excited about this!

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Steller sea lions are part of the wildlife bounty today!

And then….there is Mt. Baker….spectacular!

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October 3rd, 2013

October on the Water

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Hey there Harbor seal!  What a pleasure to folat along with you today as we run down San Juan Channel.  The sun is shining, the water is flat and our eyes are busy scanning for our favorite things….wildlife in the San Juans!

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We are not disappointed!  We soon discover Harbor seals hauled out and basking in the October sunshine.

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This beautiful Loon is a bit of a challenge to photograph as it’s keeping a low profile on the water.

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The Common murres, brightly in winter plumage, bob around the boat.

img_8287Scanning for Minke whales turns into high success!  On our way out into Haro Strait, this beautiful whale pops up in my binoculars!  We are lucky today as we find yet another Minke whale and for a little while, the two are together.

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On the way home we stop by the Steller sea lions again and find these two definitely on R&R for the afternoon hours.  Looks like a good idea!

September 27th, 2013

In the Company of L Pod Whales

There are Southern Resident Orca whales in the area today and we head out to find them.  These are the fish eating Orca whales that frequent our waters here in the San Juan Islands, looking for salmon.  Today we cross over to the strait to the east and find members of L pod heading south!

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Soon we are in the company of at least 12 Orca whales, as they travel leisurely down Rosario Strait.  There is a mix of young and old and some of the younsters are practicing their turns and rolls…over the top of adults!

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It seems as if from nowhere…more and more whales join the traveling group.  Familiar fins glide by.  It’s so good to see them all, looking healthy, rolling over one another and keeping up a good pace.

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Mega is hard to miss as he passes.  See the notch half way down his dorsal fin?  What kind of fashion statement is this?  Both whales are decorated with seaweed across the base of the dorsal.  Maybe eel grass or kelp fronds?

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Here’s a nice family shot!  Our good fortune lasts all afternoon as we watch and snap photos of nearly 30 whales.  Maybe more.  The thing about “whale time” is that it’s like “no time”….and suddenly over an hour has disappeared?  How does that happen?

Our trip back to Friday Harbor takes us past Harbor seals and Harbor porpoise.  It’s been a magical afternoon on the water….again!

September 25th, 2013

In the Company of Whales…and…

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Heading out of Friday Harbor the sun makes an appearance and the blue sky puts on a real show!  The hard rain of last night has disappeared and our afternoon on the water is off to a great start.

Heading up San Juan Channel we come across several Harbor seal haul out sites.  These seals are enjoying the sun as much as we are, I bet!

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Some of the seal pups are using the kelp bed areas and the protected water for today’s excursion.  Several heads bob up while we cruise by.

Then we spot an adult Bald eagle high in a tree ashore!  Seems the birds is doing it’s own survey of the land and water in search of prey.

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It’s soon time to pick up the speed and head off to the north as a group of the Southern Resident orca whales are headed for Canadian waters.  We find part of L pod traveling down Boundary Pass!

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In the L-12 group we find Mega, L-41, and the group of females and the 2012 calf, just named “Joy.”  Traveling is the business of the day and they move swiftly to the north, where the Fraser River enters Georgia Strait.

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Here’s L-89, Solstice (1993)  joining in with the L-12 family.

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Later two of the big boys team up and travel together.  The moms and kids are off to the side, checking out the shoreline.

It would be easy to spend another hour here, as time in the company of whales always speeds by at an amazing pace.

Before we turn for home we take one last long look.

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We are lucky today as we find Dall’s porpoise flying down San Juan Channel at record speed.  The best part is we have time to look at them and hang out for awhile!

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These 8 ft. long porpoise are the fastest cetaceans in the ocean and today they are show offs!  Photography is challenging and I get many many shots of splashes, but here is a look at the beautiful black back and the classy white tip of the dorsal fin!

It’s really, really hard to beat September days on the water!

September 18th, 2013

Whoa! Transient Orca with a Capital “T”!!

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Today it’s off to see this amazing Transient Killer whale, known as T-20.  There’s no doubt about “who is who” as this dorsal fin is very distrinctive.  The notch at the top of the dorsal fin and the amazing pattern scratched into the top portion of the fin are the recognizable clues.

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It’s a long ride today, but soon Victoria, B.C. is in sight….and the enormous dorsal fin pops up on the horizon!  We are on the lookout for his mother, T-21, but during the hour we travel with this huge male, no sign of  her.

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We can’t help but wonder just exactly how this notch occurred.  Transient orcas  seek marine mammals for their prey and perhaps some of these distinctive rips, tears or notches occur during a hunting event.  Just a guess.

After fantastic views of this incredible adult male orca, we move on to the sights on Whale Rocks where Steller sea lions challenge each other to “the best spot.”  That would be any spot occupied by another sea lion!

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Some are practicing vocals, some are totally in rest mode and others…soaking up the sun and practicing looking big.  Really, really BIG!  Weighing in at 2,000 pounds, that’s not too hard to do!

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A quick pass by the Goose Island area seaching for Harbor seals in the water, our eyes fall upon this adult Bald eagle on the rocks!

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Not hard to say….another incredible day on the water!  September rules!

September 13th, 2013

Transient Whales on the Hunt!

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We catch up with the T-37’s not far out of Friday Harbor.  What luck for this Friday cruise!  The family of T-37’s is very active, racing along the side of Spieden Island.

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Here’s a side roll which was followed by a back breach and tail slap!

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Several times it appears that there is prey near by as the whales speed up or make quick turns.  There is a brief sighting of a Harbor porpoise….in the air…with an Orca whale mouth right behind the fluke!!  Gulp.  Literally.

The whales soon turned off for Haro Strait at a pretty good clip.  Perhaps another mission deployed?

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It’s time for us to turn too, with our next mission:  find more wildlife to enjoy!

And we do!

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Harbor seals in R&R mode make the most of an ebbing tide to haul out on the rocks.

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And an adult Bald eagle in stealth mode high in a tree!  Most of the local eagles are taking advantage of the salmon spawning up the mainland rivers right now, so we count ourselves lucky to find a few who didn’t make the trip this year.

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How about these two Steller sea lions as a last “wild” sighting?!  We find three that have returned for the winter, hanging out in the fast water around Green Point.  Friends?  Or?

It’s been another great trip with plenty of “wild” sightings in the San Juans!

September 12th, 2013

Hi Ho…to Canada We Go!

Today it’s off to the north as there are Southern Resident Orca whales in the neighborhood and they are traveling north!  We find two groups from K Pod about 30 minutes away from the dock!

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It’s wonderful to see such energetic whales, traveling and sometimes stopping to forage as they work their way north searching for salmon.  Here’s a litle head popping up next to mom!

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This tight family group of K pod whales travels close to the Pender Island shore today.

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Here’s an adult son following mom who is in the lead.  We have a magical hour or more to spend watching these two families as they swim together.

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It’s always hard to turn away and head back in the homeward direction….but there is a lot more to see as we work our way back to Friday Harbor!

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Today we find Harbor seals resting along a quiet shore near the Cactus Islands.

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This Great Blue heron stands tall on a kelp bed.  Patience is the key for the hunting strategy for this bird.

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Here’s a close up look at the seaweed plant that supports so much diverse sea life.  Birds use it for a fishing platform or a resting spot.  Seals use it to seek out shelter or prey.  Small forage fish use it for a nursery space or a great hiding spot.  Orca whales use it for ….sometimes decoration!

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Here’s a photo set up Captain Pete can’t resist.  We suddenly find an adult Bald eagle, perched perfectly on the top of a fir tree…with yes, the moon.  What a way to end a wonderful September afternoon in the San Juans!

September 6th, 2013

Residents Race…Across Georgia Strait!

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Amazing!  Resident Killer Whales race across Georgia Strait toward the Fraser River with high speed action!  We find a large group of whales in Boundary Pass this afternoon.  They are spread out and swimming north and east….the direction of the Fraser River where the favored salmon return to spawn.  Maybe today they will find lots of salmon!

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Watching these incredible animals hurl through the water is always breathtaking.

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Here’s K-21 as he approaches Boiling Reef on the edge of the Georgia Strait.  He is at the trailing end of this large group of whales and seems to be in no particular hurry.

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This youngster is experimenting with the back stroke as he navigates Boundary Pass.  But wait…what’s this?

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It’s a back dive….which will turn into a roll!  Take a look!

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There you are…a perfectly executed back dive, into a roll.  Whale dancing?

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Suddenly from the other side of the boat, this female Resident Orca amazes us with a burst of speed, and a big surprise on the surface!

It’s really really good to see them all appearing so playful, full of energy and intent on heading to the area where they usually find prey.  We hope there are lots and lots of Chinook waiting for them!

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The shoreline along Saturna Island in British Columbia is steep and deep.  The whales favor this side of the pass and give shore watchers a good view!

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On our way back to Friday Harbor we have time for a circumnavigation of Skipjack Island, which is a wildlife reserve.  And…the Harbor seals are taking advantage of that!

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Here’s a mom and pup!

On our way this afternoon, the fog starts to float back in and fill the channels.

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Just another magical afternoon, on the waters of the Salish Sea….surrounded by whales, water and wildlife…WONDEROUS!

September 5th, 2013

Surrounded by Whales….

There is big weather predicted, but by trip time no rain…no wind…just Pacific Northwest high gray clouds.  We head for the south end and enjoy Harbor seals and Steller sea lions hauled out.  The water of Haro Strait appears before us, flat and glassy!

Today we find two Minke whales on the way across the strait.  They glide across the surface and slip below.  Then it’s out into the middle of magically flat water to the Southern Resident Orca whales!

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The predicted rain clears away and there are whales scattered out as far as we can see…and the sound of blows travels across the water from such a distance we have to scan really really hard to see where those whales are.

We have a magical hour watching whales.  Whales in groups of two and three…that split and come back together.  A few breach and leave huge splashes on the horizon.

A few Pink salmon breach out of the water too!  And then there is this beautiful Common murre in winter plumage floating near the boat.

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Everyone takes a deep breath and sigh.  It’s time to turn for home….but what’s this?  Minke whales to delay our direct route back!  There are two or three of them out on the bank, and one lunges up to the surface.

Now, it IS time to head directly back to port.  But what’s this?  Transient Orca whales spotted in the channel up ahead!  Off we go…still heading home, but a slight delay…to find and then watch this group of three Transient Orcas ….and right in front of them a group of Harbor porpoise!  What now?  Porpoise for dinner?

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The T-185’s are after the Harbor porpoise…and although there are several lunges, we see no sign of the porpose again.  Perhaps they escape!?  One last look at the big male as we finally, do, actually, turn for home and return to the dock.

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An awesome September afternoon….surround by whales!

September 4th, 2013

September Welcomes Whales!

Today is my first trip out in September and once again this month proves to be awesome on the water.  A  glassy and calm surface greets us as we motor around to Haro Strait.  J pod appears!

img_7465The pod appears to be busy foraging for salmon all along the coast of one of the islands.  They go north, then west, then south, then west….all afternoon.  They are moving steadily to the north, so perhaps they will continue up to the Fraser River.

We are at one time, “surrounded by whales”….listening to their blows, watching the quick turns, the tail slaps and a few breaches in the distance.  It is magical.

img_7503Pink salmon jump all around us too!  The mini splashes and high leaps are amazing.  The Southern Resident Killer Whales do not favor this type of salmon and that’s too bad as there appear to be a lot of them!

img_7529This adult Bald eagle feeds on any type of salmon.  Although we don’t see the eagle catch a salmon, this bird lands on the rocky shore and finds a dead fish awaiting his/her arrival.  Nothing goes to waste around here!

img_7552These Harbor seals enjoy salmon with no real preference to type…but today they seem to be just into the R&R of “shore leave.”

We leave the Resident Orca whales while they are still fishing for Chinook, which are the largest of the local salmon….hoping they are finding plenty and their bellies are full.

img_7473A totally awesome day on awesome flat, calm water, with awesome wildlife.  What a way to spend a September afternoon!

August 30th, 2013

Fantastic Friday….Orcas and…

img_7389Fantastic Friday is is!  We head out into flat calm water in Haro Strait and run almost across in what seems like “no time.”  Ah…that’s whale time for you.  Soon we catch up with two groups of Transient Orcas traveling together.  This has been an amazing few weeks with many different Transient families in and out of our area.

img_7409Catch a good view of little T-137D in the middle?  This year old calf really keeps up…and inbetween!  Here’s another shot below!

img_7374img_7373We are lucky to spend an entire hour watching these two groups as they socialize a bit and pull a few disappearing acts, only to resurface on opposite sides of the boat.

It’s a beautiful sunny and warm morning and afternoon out on the water, with mountains rising from the sea and almost no breeze.

img_7359The Steller sea lions are steadily gaining in population numbers this week.  Today there are at least 18 on shore and another 7 - 10 in the water making plans for claiming a space on land.

img_7432On the trip back we stop to check out scattered sea birds as it might indicate a Minke whale nearby.  Someone on the front deck casually says, “Oh, there’s a Puffin.”  Yikes!  YES!  It sure is a Tufted Puffin and heres the proof!  A rare sighting for us and today’s the day….a real bonus.  Transient Orcas, Steller sea lions, many sea birds…AND the Puffin!

Did I mention the weather was fabulous?  Fabulous on a fantastic Friday!

August 28th, 2013

Minkes in the Mist

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Ok, it’s really really happening.  Summer is slipping away and Fall is announcing it’s arrival.  Here’s a Pigeon Guillemot dressed for winter days.  Today we see these birds in all stages of plumage, but this winter coloration is the reality of what’s coming up….soon.

We start the day out in misty conditions and as we stop to watch Harbor porpoise in San Juan Channel the mist starts lifting and shades of grey surround us.

On Salmon Bank we find two different Minke whales shopping for bait fish and spending a lot of time surfacing!  Here’s the Minke whale we know as Mr. T.

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After great viewing of these two 30 - 35 foot whales, we move on to the small islands close to the Lopez Island shore.  Here we find many seabirds including the tiny spinning Phalaropes, Pigeon Guillemots, Rhinocerous Auklets, many many Gulls, three Great Blue Heron standing together, and two majestic adult Bald Eagles!

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We have the pleasure of watching Harbor seal mom and pups hauled out on the rocky shore and a few little ones swimming in and around the Bull kelp.

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img_7240From this place we listen carefully and can hear the roar of Steller sea lions across the water!  There is a big change in the winter habitat for these animals as of today.  The numbers have climbed to 18 sea lions hauled out on shore and another 7 or 8 in the water!

img_7246img_7255What a show!  We enjoy it all….on a misty, grey, serene, warm, beautiful day in the San Juan Islands!