We took a school group out on a special whale watch trip today where we spotted all sorts of wildlife. We encountered harbor seals, a California sea lion, a tufted puffin, multiple bald eagles, a minke whale and J pod orcas who were sleeping!
We took our second trip of the day off the dock and headed through the inner islands. We spotted several harbor porpoise enjoying the current lines of Rosario Strait. We slowed down along the Spieden Island shoreline where we spotted two mature bald eagles perched on the hillside. They both took flight, enabling us to see their huge wingspans. Captain Michael also spotted some deer on the hillside. As we cruised the Stuart Island shoreline, we came across our J pod orca buddies! The first group of orcas we came across were J16 (Slick) and her family: J26 (Mike), J36 (Alki), J52, J42 (Echo) and J50! They were heading north and giving us some great looks! Mike even gave us a huge breach! We approached the Turn Point Lighthouse we found another group of whales. We went with them up toward the lighthouse. Then we got a great pass from the J16 family! Then Sarah spotted some more whales back behind us, so we turned to find them! It was J22 (Oreo), J34 (Doublestuf), J38 (Cookie), J17 (Princess Angeline), J28 (Polaris), J46 (Star), J35 (Tahlequah), J47 (Notch) and J44 (Moby). They passed by in some amazing lighting, right along the Stuart Island shoreline! We continued with them up to Boundary Pass where we got some of our most amazing encounters of the night! The whales were surfacing in pristine water. Captain Michael perfectly lined the whales up with Mt. Baker! Beautiful! As we were about to turn to leave, the whales headed right for us! One of them was breaching toward us! They came off of our stern delighting all of our passengers (and crew alike)! It was quite the finale! We cruised home and spotted a couple bald eagles and even an osprey in its nest on Crane Island! Simply a picturesque night!