Orcas along the Seattle waterfront!


Well, our trip today was epic! We spent over two hours with killer whales right in front of our dock in Seattle. One group of whales, the T99’s and T37A’s were southbound and they caught up with the T137’s who were northbound. We saw spy-hops, breaches, and one orca even brought a seal to the surface while two others were in pursuit of the prize. It was windy, cold, and raining hard, but with action like this we were not bothered by the weather. What a day!

-Michael Colahan

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Great wildlife tour!


We had rain early in the trip, but it cleared out and gave us a really nice afternoon on the water. We encountered quite a bit of wildlife today, including harbor seals and harbor porpoise. Dall’s porpoise popped up just south of the Tacoma Narrow’s Bridge. We saw some California sea lions hauled on a navigational marker and watched as a Steller sea lion thrashed about with a skate it was feeding on. We searched and searched, but could not find a whale, so we look forward to seeing everyone return to try again!

-Michael Colahan

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T137’s Rule!


 WOW! We had an amazing trip from Pier 66 Seattle today, as Tyson found the whales and we enjoyed one of the best encounters of the year! We had an early report of killer whales to the south, but no one had eyes on them for several hours, so we were on the search. We had a California sea lion pop up close as we left the dock, and there were harbor seals surfacing everywhere throughout the day. We spotted a really nice group of Dall’s porpoise as we approached Tacoma. The porpoise engaged and played in both our bow and stern wake! Tyson spotted the orcas exiting Carr Inlet and the killer whales blew us away with their activities! They got into a mix of harbor seals and we watched them hunt for the next hour! This was the T137’s, one of my all-time favorite families! T137D breached several times, and the orcas circled their prey and pushed a seal right up to the boat! It was a day for the ages, as we watched the National Geographic Channel live right next to us! Unbelievable! After finishing off the distraught harbor seal, the orcas moved on and we cruised back to Seattle, with one of the best trips to remember!

If anyone on the trip was interested in the photos from the tour but did not get a chance to contact me, feel free to do so on my webpage:


-Michael Colahan

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***IT’S BACK!!!*** It’s the day you’ve all been waiting for – the return of our annual 50% off gift certificate sale, the best deal of the year! Give the gift of whales to your friends, your family, or even yourself! If you’re looking to join us in 2017, we’re giving you two ways to save. You can purchase a gift certificate for your favorite location and choose the date later, or if you have a specific date in mind, use your location’s promo code to get 50% off the regular ticket price! This special deal will end at midnight on December 24th, so don’t delay! To purchase your certificates, find your location’s promo code, or simply get more information about each tour, check out: http://ift.tt/2gd2okd

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The extra mile pays off!!!!


Decent weather
Occasional harbor porpoise
T137 orcas making a kill
Gray whale #723 south of Whidbey

Naturalist Log:

The forecast and the surrounding sky were no indication today as to how epic the trip was going to be. With dark black clouds aloft both sides of the Puget sound and gray clouds up above the weather was not looking promising. We headed out of the marina though with determination in our eyes and adventure in our hearts. At first we crossed through Elliot bay before crossing the traffic lanes to the south toward Blake island, at which time we read a report of animals to our north. With that Captain Scott spun the boat and put her down plunging us north into the unknowns of the Possession sound. With rainy and windy weather the bird life was almost non existent other than the occasional seagull. We continued on regardless of the seas past the Clinton ferry landing and Gedney island until we had just about given up hope. Captain Scott was going to look for another minute and twenty seconds before making our turn back south, he raised his field goggles(binoculars) up for one last look to the north and out of nowhere T137A’s dorsal fin came rising out of the water!!! It took a couple minutes to dial in the orcas but once we did we were in for a treat!!! We received a lot of close behavior and were even lucky enough to watch them make a kill and eat their prey. It was spectacular and at one point T137B spy hopped with some guts in its mouth giving us a great look at what they were having for lunch. Unfortunately it was not identifiable at this time in the eating process but we hypothesize that it may have been one of the harbor porpoise we had been seeing in the area. After watching the whales for a while it was time to continue back south to our home port. Not even two minutes after we passed Possession point we encountered a gray whale, and not just any gray whale but #723 Lucy!!! We got some great looks before finally having to press on back toward Seattle. On the return trip the winds began to pick up and as it does in the Northwest, the sun quickly disappeared over the horizon. It was a spectacular day especially getting to see orcas feeding and a gray whale!!! Definitely a highlight in my mind as far as trips go!!!!

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Seattle sea lions, sunshine and a DOUBLE RAINBOW!


-California sea lions
-Mature bald eagle
-Steller sea lions
-Beautiful rainbow

We left the dock at Bell Harbor Marina under a few rain showers. The first wildlife we spotted was a California sea lion hauled out on a navigational marker. He was definitely giving us his good side. We searched toward the south toward Vashon Island. We made our way to Blake Island and found a mature bald eagle perched in a tree. We circumnavigated the island and turned north on our search. We found another sea lion, this time it was a Steller sea lion perched on another navigational marker. Some sharp-eyed passengers spotted numerous harbor porpoise throughout our journey. We scoured the waters to the north, all the way to Possession Point on Whidbey Island. The rain continued to dissipate and eventually the skies got brighter and brighter and the sun came out! We came across another navigational marker that had both a California sea lion and a Steller sea lion hauled out. As the sun continued to pierce through the clouds, a rainbow started to form! It ended up being a full rainbow and then a very faint double rainbow! It was beautiful! We continued back toward homeport and unfortunately, we didn’t see a whale today, which means all of our passengers get to come back free, for life, until they see a whale!

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Island Explorer 3 finds Orcas from Seattle!


Well, the weather turned out pretty nice today with rain early that passed through and left us dry for the tour! After passing the Seattle waterfront we were on the search for whales! An early report of orcas led us to the north where we found J and K Pod Resident Killer Whales! We first spent time with Squim, Sekui, Tika, and Rainshadow. They were joined by Onyx and one of the bigger males tail-lobbed! Another orca spyhopped in the distance! They were spread out over many miles, some were west of Possession Point in the traffic lanes and others were all the up north to the Mukilteo ferry landing. We saw lots of foraging behaviors, as these whales often come down to Seattle in the winter to search for salmon. We caught up with Blackberry and Doublestuf also foraging and Doublestuf passed right next to our bow! Capt. Carl spooted more animals including a calf so we went to check them out. It was Princess Angeline and her calf J53! The little one tail-lobbed and even breached! We had a great encounter with them and enjoyed a nice run back to Seattle.

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A wild ride from Seattle!

Our tour from Bell Harbor Marina today took us into Puget Sound to search for whales. The wind was whipping all day long, but our guests were ready for the ride and ready to help us look for whales! We had nice views of the downtown skyline as we left the dock and crashed through the waves toward Vashon Island, where we got a little break from the seas. A bald eagle was on the rocks near Brainbridge Island fighting to stay upright with the wind. Pushing north, we put out a great search pattern that took us to Possession Point and the south end of Whidbey Island. Two harbor seals were there near the shallow water indicating that food was in the region, but nothing big popped up with them. Turning back south we had a really nice view of the Seattle waterfront again as it was lit by the setting sun. Unfortunately, we could not find a whale in the seas, but everyone will get a chance to return until we find them one!

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Grand Prize Winner!!! Congratulations Brian Goldberg and Marcie Barney Goldberg (you two can fight over who actually won :D ). This photo is the perfect summery of the epic season that we had at Island Adventures! It truley was the year of the Humpbacks :)

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