Orcas, a Humpback, and 5 Puffins!!


Trip Highlights:
*We find a humpback whale in Rosario Strait
*K and L pod orcas off the west side of San Juan Island
*5 tufted puffins hanging out close together at Iceberg Point
*We find our humpback again and he swims right up to us for the best views of the day!

We had an interesting day today filled with twists and turns.  Things got started out in Rosario Strait today when, Larry, one of our passengers spotted a exhalation blow.  It was a humpback whale!  Nice job Larry.  This whale gave us plenty of great views as he spent a lot of time at the surface and showed his tail flukes before every deep dive.  After several good views of him we pushed to the south with word that a small pod of transient orcas were heading slowly northward from Puget Sound.  Unfortunately those orcas turned around and headed back southward, and a Nuclear Submarine was coming back in from the ocean heading in the same direction.  Since we need to give the submarine lots of space Capt. Carl decided to go for plan B which was to head toward the west side of San Juan Island where some resident orcas were milling around.

By the time we reached the scene the orcas were near Pile point heading toward Lime Kiln Park.  The first orca we visited was L95, Nigel.  He was swimming offshore but making his way toward other orcas that were closer to the shoreline.  We spotted K25 Scoter swimming along with another whale and they were rolling around with each other for most of our visit.  We also spotted several orcas near the shoreline that did breaches now and then!  We had a great visit with the killer whales before we had to leave, but our trip wasn’t over yet.  At Iceberg Point we spotted 5 tufted puffins, and they were hanging out right next to each other!  That was quite a treat to see so many puffins so close to one another in beautiful lighting!!  After a visit with them we cruised by Swirl Rocks to look at some harbor seals, and we found a great blue heron hunting on top of the bull kelp near Castle Island.  After we pulled out into Rosario Strait again Carl spotted our humpback whale from earlier today and we had just enough time to visit with him again.  This whale must have liked us because after a 4 minute dive he surfaced right next to us!!  Wow, what a view!  Then after taking a deep dive he circled around and surfaced right next to us again!!  Then he fluked right behind us giving us all the biggest thrill of the day!  What a trip!!  Naturalist Bart Rulon

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