July 15, 2018

Anacortes – Port Angeles

Anacortes AM

Incredible whale show today! The trip started off with a stop by Williamson Rocks to check out a bunch of harbor seals hauled out on the beach, including one pup. We then made our way into the Strait of Juan de Fuca to watch two pods of transient (marine mammal eating) whales that were hunting by Smith and Minor Island. They were really active and we saw numerous tail slaps, including one with a perfect shot of Mt Baker in the background. After watching the orcas for a while, we went to check out a bunch of incredibly active sea lions that were lounging on a nearby channel marker. They kept fighting with one another over a napping spot on the marker. We then journeyed back to the orcas, and wow, what a show. They were in the pursuit of a minke whale in the area. All the whales were traveling full speed ahead, at about 12 knots, and were porpoising out of the water every time. After no success, the orcas gave up and began hunting seals or sea lions in the area again. Truly and amazing encounter.



Anacortes PM

Gorgeous weather and beautiful views while watching whales today! Our trip started out by heading into the San Juan Islands, between Cypress and Blakeley Island, and up beside the Eastern side of Orcas Island, to Peapod Rocks. There were a bunch of harbor seals hauled out on the beach, including one pup, and two bald eagles perched on the “National Wildlife Refuge” sign. After that, we ventured closer to Canadian territories, off the coast of Ewing Island, to check out two bald eagle’s nests and then finally into Canadian waters, by Active Pass, to watch a pod of Resident (fish eating) orcas. The pod was identified as the J pod; the lineage of orcas related to granny (the oldest living orca). We watched them as they hunted fish for a while, with a perfect shot of Mt Baker in the background. After that, we started our journey back to port alongside Lummi Island.

– Emma



Port Angeles AM

Had an awesome day out on the water! Another smooth, crystal clear was perfect for whale watching and we were rather successful! We left port following report of humpback whales handing out near Beach Head, so we started our day heading westward up the Juan de Fuca. Once out there we bumped into Divot and the calf, and got some looks at the baby that we have never seen before! Divot and the calf were swimming lazily along, and the calf got curious enough to give us a little spyhop….we actually saw his cute little face! We enjoyed these whales for a while, and then headed eastward towards Race Rocks. While in route we ended up seeing a Minke whale out and about! This guy was swimming along the tide line feeding, and gave us some really good looks. We then made it to Race Rocks, and were pleased to see various pinnepeds (Harbor Seals, Elephant Seals and Stellar Sealions!) as well as Ollie the Otter. We got some great shots out there and headed back to Port Angeles. On our way out we ran into another whale, identified as “Scratchy” enjoying himself along that tide line as well. All in all, it was a great day!



Port Angeles PM

Another beautiful afternoon in the Salish Sea! We headed eastwards of whale reports near Crescent Bay so we headed on down, feeling some fun little rollers on th way out! After going a ways, about a half hour, we had a VERY unusual sighting…. one lone sea otter floating out in the strait! This little furry thing was hanging out on a clump of kelp, and let us take a couple minutes for some good shots. We did get some pictures to send to researchers in the area. We were so excited!!! We enjoyed the Olympic views for a while, then decided to head west across the strait towards Race Rocks. Not so unexpectedly, we found our humpback friends out there. We really were swimming in whale soup there for a while, with whales surfaces on all sides. We did connect with Divot and the baby one more time, as well as identify one other humpback as “Stitch”. Since we were just east of Race Rocks we went on over to explore. We got a bit of a mix up in presence of pinnipeds, this time we saw Harbor Seals, Steller sea lions AND California sea lions! We also saw one of the bald eagles that wasn’t present this morning, and Ollie the Otter wasn’t around this time! Always interesting to see how wildlife changes throughout the day! It was a beautiful afternoon, and a great trip.




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July 11, 2018


Double header today!! Two different species of whales in one trip! Our trip started off with a stop at a channel marker to check out a Steller sea lion snoozing on top. We then made our way over to Bird Rocks to check out all the harbor seals hauled out on the beach during the extremely low tide. Our journey then continued on to Smith and Minor Island. There were two adult and four juvenile eagles hanging out on the beach, as well as a mom and pup harbor seal. After that, we watched a humpback named Scratchy. Scratchy was showing tail every time and taking really short dives. After watching the humpback for a while, we went back over to Smith and Minor Island where we saw a tufted puffin. Our journey then continued on to Hein Bank to watch several minke whales feed and then off to a quick stop at Deception Pass bridge on our way back to port.

Clear skies and calm seas as we left Cap Sante Marina this afternoon. We started off the trip with a stop at Bird Rocks. Here we found nesting glaucous-winged gulls and double-crested cormorants, and several mom and pup harbor seal pairs. We also spotted some harbor porpoise foraging in the current lines. From here we cruised south towards Smith Island. We made a stop at Minor Island where we found many more habor seals, two mature bald eagles, three juvenile bald eagles, and so many double-crested cormorants. The eagles were picking at something dead on the beach, but the driftwood prevented us from confirming what was on the menu. We made our way all the way to Port Townsend where we found our first whale of the day, a mature humpback! It was cruising swiftly northwards, leaving a prominent footprint as it went. The evening sun illuminated its spouts brilliantly, turning the mucus into rainbows as it dissipated. We left this whale to venture northwards where another humpback had been spotted. It turned out to be Scratchy! As always, Scratchy was all over the place, and not keeping to any sort of rhythmic pattern, making its surfacings a bit harder to time. In the end, we did manage to get a good fluke from Scratchy, and with that we made our turn towards home. Along the way, we stopped for tufted puffins at Smith Island, and even took a scenic detour to Deception Pass since the evening lighting was too beautiful to pass up.

Port Angeles

AM tour:
What an unbelievably beautiful day it’s been! We had a flat calm, sunny day with lots of wildlife and fantastic visibility.We had a really nice ride out from the harbor, and were all enjoying the sun on the way out to our whale sightings. We headed westward toward Race Rocks, since we have been seeing soooooo many humpbacks in this area lately, and we were not disappointed! We were met with Divot and the calf, and we really enjoyed watching these too meander side by side for a while. We decided to pass through Race Rocks while we were in the area, and had an AWESOME view of Ollie the Otter, as well as of many birds and harbor seals….and we got a glimpse of that Elephant Seal who has been claiming the side of the boat ramp as his own. After some great view there we stuck our nose out into the strait and headed in the direction of Port Angeles, making sure to keep our eyes out for more whales on the way back. We did find another feeding humpback whale who we did not identify, but we enjoyed watching this whale swimming around in the currents. Couldn’t have asked for a better day!

PM tour:
Everybody was in high spirits as we left the harbor today, but then again its hard not to be when the water is as smooth as silk! We had unbelievable views as we cruised west down the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and actually hugged the Olympic Pen coastline instead of the Vancouver coastline this time….it was gorgeous! We got some really beautiful looks at the Crescent Bay area, and just sort of got a look at the strait from a different perspective than usual! We headed out this way looking for humpbacks, but spent most of that time just taking in the landscape. We then decided to cross over the strait towards Race Rocks, to go see the wildlife over there. We caught up with Ollie again, who was actually more active than I’ve ever seen him. It seemed like he was taking a little bath, rolling himself around in the water and rubbing his face….too cute! The bull kelp out there is really growing fast, and the harbor seals as well as the otter are getting all up in it! Almost as soon as we departed RR and headed a bit northeast, we found ourselves in some thick humpback soup! We were completely surrounded by humpbacks feeding in the rip currents, and had an awesome time looking and taking photos…. many of the passengers assisted in referencing the photo ID guides! While there were at least 7 or 8 whales present, we took the time to identify two as “Hemlock” and “Lyra”. It really was a great day!

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It’s time to start making your 4th of July plans! This year we are offering evening fireworks cruises from both Port Angeles and Anacortes. These tours sell out fast, so make your reservations early at www.orcawhales.com! 🎆🎇🇺🇲

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We’ve ordered a couple more “no puffin” no smoking signs as it was mentioned that there were some spots that were still an issue. They are in Matt’s office, just double check the locations with Shane Aggergaard before you put them on permanently.

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All of our whale tours have departed for the day, but if you’re still looking to get out on the water, we’ve got space on our Deception Pass wildlife tour tonight at 6:00 PM! Hop onto the Island Explorer 4 in La Conner and unwind as we cruise under the iconic Deception Pass bridge. Grab your spot at www.orcawhales.com. See you then! #lovelaconner #exploreskagit #visitskagit #deceptionpass

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June 8, 2018

Anacortes AM 

Anacortes PM

This afternoon we started off our tour heading North towards some whales two hours off the dock. As we were cruising North towards these whales, we stopped around Pea Pod rocks where we saw harbor seals and a bald eagle on top of the navigation marker. We then continued North all the way North of Active Pass where we arrived on scene with over a dozen killer whales! They were spending tons of time out on the surface where they were tail slapping, spy hopping and breaching! The whales were very active but as time passed, we had to make our way back towards Anacortes… until we heard report of two humpbacks just up a couple minutes away! We went and saw them fluke a couple of times until we had to wave goodbye and make our way back to the dock! It was an amazing trip on a not so amazing weather day, which just goes to show that whales can be found rain or shine!:)

– Clare

Port Angeles

We had such a wonderful humpback-y time today! We were only out of the harbor for maybe 15 minutes before a passenger made our first whale sighting (likely HB) that McKenna also saw, but this whale didn’t resurface within sight again. We waited on it for a bit while Nate gathered intel on other humpback sightings up near the rock pile. We headed up that way and were met with a nice long humpback feeding show. We saw everything! Lunge-feeding, pectoral fin slaps, lobbing, splashes and tail flukes upon tail flukes. Our passengers were so excited and really played a big role in spotting whales today! After spending quite a bit of time wandering through the Rock Pile area (there were up to 8 humpbacks recorded in this area today!) we took a jaunt up to Race Rocks and saw our California Sealions and one half of the Bald Eagle mated pair. It was a full day of wildlife today, and our passengers were happy and excited when we returned and appeared to have a great time despite of the rain that made it over to us on the way back.

Thanks a bunch!

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Happy Birthday to our newest vessel, the Island Explorer 5! Her first tour was one year ago today and what a fantastic year it’s been! We still have a few open spots from Anacortes this weekend if you want to join in the celebration! 🎁🎉🎂 #islandadventures #welovewhales

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Island Adventures is partnering with KISM 92.9 for 92 Days of Summer! We’ll be celebrating “Hump Day” Happy Hour every Wednesday now through August 29th! For just $29.92 plus tax, guests get a 2.5-hour Deception Pass cruise from La Conner, a Hempler’s hot dog, and a cold local brew or soda. Book online at https://ift.tt/2IR4pUz. *Special promotion. Valid for Wednesday tours only. No additional discounts apply.

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☀️ Humans aren’t the only ones enjoying this heat wave! Check out this photo of some sunbathing Steller sea lions taken by Naturalist Tyson on our La Conner full-day tour yesterday. To encourage everyone to get outside, we’re offering 50% off our Wednesday and Friday La Conner full-day tours this week when you use promotion code “SUN”. Discount applies this Wednesday and Friday only. Book online at www.orcawhales.com! ☀️

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