Orcas in Canada on both trips out of Anacortes!

Anacortes 


10AM Highlights
-Bald eagles everywhere 
-Harbor porpoise
-Harbor seals
-T36As and T75Bs take us to Canada

We began our trip with multiple bald eagles along the eastern side of Guemes Island. We continued north and made our way north of Orcas Island. We stopped by Parker Reef where we spotted several harbor seals hauled out and a couple more bald eagles to add to our total. We trekked toward Canada and found some orcas south of Skipjack Island. It was the T36As (T36A, T36A1, T36A2 and T36A3) and T75Bs (T75B and T75B2)! When we got on scene, they looked like they were working on eating some lunch, the birds were circling above and the whales were darting in different directions. We saw spyhops and tail lobs and headstands! The whales began heading toward Canada and we headed with them. They made it alongside Java Rocks where they did some tail lobs and one whale did a huge spyhop right next to the boat! We eventually had to head back toward homeport. At the Cone islands we saw several harbor seals hauled out and a couple more bald eagles! We cruised back under blue skies and saw more bald eagles! I think our total number was 17 for the day!


4PM Highlights
-Harbor porpoise
-Bald eagles
-Mouflon sheep
-T36As and T75Bs in Canada
-Osprey



We left on our evening trip and headed down Guemes Channel and crossed Rosario Strait for Thatcher Pass. We spotted some harbor porpoise swimming in the current lines. At Willow Island, we spotted two mature bald eagles and a harbor seal hauled out enjoying the sun. We trekked on through the inner islands and checked out the Spieden Island shoreline where we found mouflon sheep grazing and running on the hillside, several harbor seals hauled out and some bald eagles soaring high above! We pushed all the way into Canada to Coal Island where we found orcas! They were the T36As (T36A, T36A1, T36A2 and T36A3) and T75Bs (T75B and T75B2)! We watched as they cruised alongside the shoreline, then started porpoising a little bit, splashing and rolling around. We spent some great time with them. At one point, the whales turned and headed right for us! It was incredible! They swam right under the boat! You could see them swimming upside down! Absolutely amazing! We couldn’t have had a better finale! We cruised back toward home port and spotted a few more seals, bald eagles and even an osprey perched by its nest! What a great night on the water!

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TRANSIENT EXCITEMENT…HUMPBACK SURPRISE!!!!!!!

PORT ANGELES

Highlights

5 Bald Eagles at Ediz Hook
T049C & T091 hunting a Harbor Porpoise
Race Rocks Lighthouse and Harbor Seals
BCY0160 Heather
BCX1057 Divot breaching
 
                                 

     

    Our  adventure for the day got off to  great start. We ambled out the Harbor enjoying the sights when an immature and two adult Bald Eagles were seen  flying in big looping circles over  Ediz Hook. As we rounded the hook we could see a young Bald eagle perched on some driftwood eyeing and adult tearing into a large salmon on the beach. Harbor Seals were bobbing in the water. We picked up speed and headed out into the Straits  of Juan de Fuca in search of the mighty whale. A few Harbor Porpoise were spotted as we made our way northward.
     Luck was with us again as a call came in about  two orcas southwest of Victoria. We arrived just in time to see our pair searching in the massive riptides that were forming. Not long into their search T049C the big  male and T091 his new gal pal discovered a Harbor Porpoise and the chase was on. They sliced through the water zigging and zagging as the Harbor Porpoise tried in vain to elude  them. T049c at one point threw a few tail lobs trying to slow the porpoise down. Working as a team they circled and chased the little porpoise  back and forth with T049C doing a lot of acrobatic maneuvers in his endeavor to secure lunch. Eventually  it seemed that they finally caught the porpoise circling and diving in one spot. Eventually they moved on seeming ly looking for more porpoise in the current lines. We left them to check out Race Rocks Ecological Preserve and the lighthouse along with the Harbor Seals  hauled out on the rocks.
    From there we pressed eastward towards  the Rockpile , a favorite haunt of some of our larger whales.Once again we were not going to be disappointed. Two Humpback friends were there feeding giving us some great views of their flukes as they dove. BCX1057 Divot surprised us all with a huge slow motion breach right in front of the boat  and then she threw in a few extra tail lobs for us. What an amazing sight that was seeing  her totally out of the water. 13 year old BCY0160 Heather was in a little more sedate mood and just casually traveled on. They seemed to settle down into a steady slow paced traveling mode exhaling so close  to the boat we could hear the fluttering  breath of Divot. As time was growing near an end we left them to peacefully  travel on their way as they both dove  showing us their flukes for one last time. Perfect ending to a perfect whale watching day.
Naturalist – Lee

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ORCAS EVERYWHERE

PORT ANGELES

Highlights

3 separate groups of orcas
Race Rocks Lighthouse
Trial Island Lighthouse
Harbor Seals
Mature Bald Eagle
Heermann’s Gulls

                                       

    We left the dock under overcast skies and calm seas. We ventured out in the Straits of Juan de Fuca after checking out the large flock of Heermann’s Gulls at Ediz Hook. Rhinocerous Auklets dotted the water as we pushed north in search of whales. A lone Harbor Seal was resting on the surface and watched as we passed  by. Some eagle eye passengers spotted a few Harbor Porpoise, small and elusive.
     As we continued our northbound journey in and out of fog banks, the call came in we loved to hear….Orcas had been found. Excitement built until we could finally see  the boats  and soon enough dorsal fins began to break the surface. At first just one appeared  looking like a lone male but then a small pod  of female and young transient or marine mammal eating orcas popped up into view. we watched them as they slowly traveled east keeping with their usual long down times  as they traveled and possibly looked for  a snack along the way. In their travels eastward they brought us not far from Trial Island  giving us some nice looks at Trial Island Lighthouse.
     We eventually turned west as more orcas  had been sighted. Not to far off more Transient orcas we also headed in an easterly direction. Lucky  us as one decided to breach thrilling all with the sight. An eerie fog loomed in shrouding the orcas in a haze but no before one did a huge spyhop checking  out his surrounding. Word came in of yet a third group  of orcas a little further west so we decided to  go check them out  and get out of the fog. Just as we were about to leave 2 orcas popped out up our starboard side not more than 50 feet away making a beeline for our boat possibly in pursuit of a seal. They resurface right next to the boat before ducking down and under  giving us fantastic views of their oncoming orca faces and showing us just how really big they are….What a treat  to see them so close up. They resurfaced on the other side still looking like they were in hot pursuit  of something  and at the edge of the fog bank we saw a lot of directional changes and circling indicating they may have had a luncheon date with a seal  before they disappeared into the fog.
     We continued west out of the fog and found our THIRD group of orcas incoming from the west (identities yet to be determined). Rumor had it  they were incoming resident orcas from L pod but as they were spread out and surfacing  erratically was hard  to identify but  updates will be forthcoming if I find out. With time getting short we made our way back across the Straits always on the lookout for whales. We had some great sunshine along the way and a light rain began to fall as we neared Port Angeles but that is weather in Washington…always changing. All in all was a fantastic day to be out on the water with a great group of guests and lots of orca time
Naturalist -Lee
   

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Orcas in Canada!

Anacortes

Highlights
-Bald eagle
-Harbor seals
-Harbor porpoise
-Orcas in Canada
-Steller sea lions
-Harbor seals
-Bald eagles

We left on our trip today and the clouds parted, giving way to sunshine! We spotted a mature bald eagle at the southeastern side of Guemes Island. In Rosario Strait, we spotted numerous harbor porpoise enjoying the current lines. We made our way down to the south end of Colville Island and found several harbor seals hauled out. We trekked out to Canada where we found some orcas! They were some Bigg’s killer whales (marine mammal eating orcas)! We hung out with them as they hunted a little bit, spy hopped and did a headstand! They eventually made it out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca where we had to leave them and head back toward home. We found three Steller sea lions hauled out on the Salmon Bank marker. Then Captain Michael took us in through the south end of Lopez Island and Castle Rock, where we found two more bald eagles and several more harbor seals! We cruised home in a little bit of liquid sunshine after a great day of watching wildlife!

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***LAST CALL*** This is the last weekend to take advantage of our June Sunset Special! Get $20 off any 4:00 PM whale-watch tour from Anacortes in the month of June. We have space available for both Saturday and Sunday’s trips, weather looks great, and oh yeah, we had both resident AND transient orcas today! Call us at 1-800-465-4604 or book online at www.orcawhales.com using the promo code: FBORCA Don’t miss out on this great deal! Photo Credit: James Gresham

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Visiting the Olympic Peninsula for the 4th of July? There’s no better way to watch the fireworks than from aboard the Island Explorer 4 in Port Angeles! We’re offering a special 4th of July Harbor Cruise to tour the harbor and watch the show departing at 9:00 PM. Tickets are just $29 per person and space is limited, so make your reservations ASAP! Visit www.pawhales.com or give us a call at 360-293-4215 to book your spot!

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Transient Orcas in the AM and PM!

Anacortes

Our morning tour from Anacortes was awesome, with a huge variety of wildlife! Before we even left the dock, a mature bald eagle swooped by overhead. This turned out to be one of a dozen bald eagles we saw as we started our day. We stopped by Colville Island and watched as several dozen harbor seals were hauled out in the negative tide. We ran north to start our day, but got the call that some orcas were at Dungeness Spit! It took us a while, but it sure paid off. The T 73A family was hunted a harbor seal! We saw them circle their prey for a bit and then saw one of the young animals surface with some harbor seal intestine draped over its dorsal fin! Wow! We have seen this family several times in the last two weeks, and each encounter has been awesome!
It was an awesome trip with some great looks at killer whales!

Our afternoon tour took us back into the Strait of Juan de Fuca to see this family of orcas again! Along the way we slowed down at Bird Rocks to watch some harbor seals that were hauled out on the rocks. Capt. Scott got the call that our linker whales friends had been moving slowly north which helped us out a great bit. The waters grew a little choppy and we had a little rain, but this hearty group didn’t mind and soon we were on scene with the T73As again! T73A is mom, and she was born in 1987. He calves T73A1, T73A2, and T73A3 were all right by her side as they zinged and zagged in the wind waves. The little calf was often times bringings it’s head really far out of the water to ensure it got a clean breath above the surf.  We even saw some tail lobs as the orcas traveled! Stopping by the Burrows Island lighthouse, we saw a mature bald eagle that rounded out another great day for us!

Photos to come soon!
Michael Colahan

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Humpback Whale & Orca Time on both trips

Port Angeles

9:30 am Trip
Highlights:
*Humpback Whales near the Rock Pile area
*2 Whales swimming side by side identified as BCY0160 “Heather” & BCX1057 “Divot”
*Transient Orcas, T73A family + Male Orca, her the dungeness spit
*Another Humpback Whale sighting on our way back towards the Orcas

Trip Log:
It was a great day out on the water. We entered the open waters and quickly spotted tall exhalations near the shallow water area known as the Rock Pile. We got some great views of the Humpback Whales while they were swimming side by side, including some looks at their Flukes. Which helped us identify the whales as BCY0160 “Heather” and BCX1057 “Divot”. While we watched the swimming pair, we also noticed more exhalations nearby. At least 4 whales were in the area. After enjoying our time with the Humpbacks, we decided to go explore more water in search of more wildlife. We were headed in the direction of Victoria, when Captain Dennis heard a call about Orcas. They had been spotted near the Dungeness Spit. We quickly made a U-turn and headed there way. Luckily for us the whales had also made a U-turn heading in our direction. We caught up to the family of whales and got to enjoy the sights of their tall dorsal fins. The family was identified as T73A and her family group. We also noticed a Male hanging out with the family, but his identity remains anonymous. We hung out with the Orcas for about an hour and then had to make our way back to PA.
Check back for pictures of our wonderful day!
~Tamara

3:30pm Trip
Highlights:
*Transient Orcas just West of Dungeness Spit
*Humpback Whale on our way towards Port Angeles
*A submarine being pulled by a tug boat with a Navy boat following closely behind
*Nice flyby from the Coast Guard Helicopter

Trip Log:
Luck was on our side for the afternoon trip. As we entered the open waters, we got word that the Transient Orcas spotted during the morning trip had moved further west (closer to us) from the Dungeness Spit. We made our way over to them quickly. On our way to the Orcas, some Humpback Whale exhalations were seen. We made a note of their location, in hopes of spotting them on our way back, and continued towards the Transient Orcas. We arrived on scene and enjoyed the views of T73A’s family pod and Male Orca friend. We were able to stay with the Orcas for over an hour, with a few lucky moments of them swimming towards the boat, at one point they even crossed our stern. After some good looks, we made our turn and searched for the Humpback Whale exhalations. We found at least 1, though it was likely that more were nearby. The Humpback Whale that kept our attention was swimming at relaxed pace in the direction of Port Angeles. The tall exhalations stood out well against the overcast skies. We were even lucky enough to see its flukes come out of the water a few times. Eventually, it was time to pick up speed and return to Port Angeles. On our way back, we spotted an interesting silhouette against the gray colored clouds. Turned out to be a submarine being pulled by a tug boat. Not far behind it, looked to be a Navy destroyer – it was impressive. As we pulled into Ediz Hook, we were treated to a fairly low flyover by the Coast Guard helicopter. It was an awesome sight.
Check back for pictures!
~Tamara

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Humpback in our backyard!

Anacortes

Highlights
-Harbor seals
-Humpback
-Bald eagles
-Harbor porpoise
-Humpback again!

We left on our trip and headed west down Guemes Channel. We crossed Rosario Strait and saw several harbor seals hauled out on Bird Rocks. We took a turn to the north and its wasn’t long before we found a humpback along the Orcas Island shoreline! We had some nice looks as the whale traveled south along the shoreline. We spent some good time with our humpback friend before we continued on our search. At Peapod Rocks, we saw at least nine bald eagles! There were also some harbor seals hauled out. We continued north up Rosario Strait, through Barnes and Clark islands, continuing on the search. We were able to catch up with our humpback whale again! We had some great looks as this time, our whale was in a more rhythmic breathing sequence! He even popped up right next to the boat! We cruised home a different way, continuing on our search. We passed by Veti Rocks and Vendor Island where we spotted more harbor seals, cormorants and pigeon guillemots. It was a lovely day on the water with a humpback whale in our backyard!

Photos to come!

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Humpback Whales at the Rock Pile

Port Angeles.

Highlights:
*Harbor Seals at the tip of Ediz Hook
*At least 4 Humpback Whales near the Rock Pile area
*2 humpback Whales identified as BCY0160 “Heather” and BCX1057 “Divot”
*Nice views of Lighthouse at Dungeness Spit
*Harbor Porpoise surfacing near the boat

(photo credit: Lee Leddy)

Trip Log:
The threat of rain loomed above the mountains, but we remained dry throughout the entire journey. We slowed the boat as we passed the tip of Ediz Hook, enjoying the sights of Harbor Seals hauled out along the shoreline. Just passed the Harbor Seals, a large flock of Heermann’s Gulls were also sighted. Then we entered the open waters. All eyes were searching the waters, looking for the clues of our wildlife. Just as neared an area known as the Rock Pile, Captain John announced “Whales Ahead!” Two large exhalations were spotted. They were Humpback Whales swimming side by side. At first the whales were being very tail shy, but then one whale lifted her flukes and started fluke slapping the surface of the water over and over again. That allowed us to confirm her id as BCY0160 also known as Heather. Eventually, Heather’s companion also showed her flukes and she was recognized as BCX1057 “Divot”. We stayed with Heather and Divot for over an hour and a half. During our time with them, we noticed more exhalations in the distance. At least were enjoying the rock pile area. Eventually it was time to leave the rock pile area, so we said our goodbye’s to Heather and Divot and headed on our way.
We got a nice look at the Dungeness Spit Lighthouse then suddenly we spotted some Harbor Porpoise . We got lucky as a few of the porpoise surfaced near the boat allowing us close up glimpses of the typically shy cetacean. What a treat! As we made our way back to Port Angeles, we enjoyed views of the Port Angeles cliffside and large groups of birds sitting on the water. It was a lovely day out on the water.
~Tamara

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