Another day with the young humpback!

Seattle

Common Goldeneyes at the dock

Steller sea lion

Mt. Rainer and Tacoma

His/Her name is Speckles

Lunch time

Awesome!

We had a super trip from Seattle today, with an abundance of wildlife throughout the day! The sun was out, the seas were calm and the animals were everywhere! We stopped along a navigational marker to watch a really large Steller sea lion sleeping while a much smaller Steller circled the marker looking for a spot to rest. Several other sea lions were spotted in Colvos Pass as we searched for whales. Approaching Pt. Defiance Capt. Carl spotted a whale! This ended up being the same whale we have seen several times this season, including yesterday. This is a very young animal, probably a year old humpback. We needed to give this awesome juvenile whale a name, and one name Carl picked out stuck. This whale has a very distinctive pattern on it’s back and tail, making ‘Speckles’ the perfect name for our little buddy. We had a blast watching this whale for the next hour as it fed along the current lines and fluked on every deep dive. Dozens of harbor seals were also in the area to take advantage of some good feeding. After leaving the humpback we passed a California sea lion that was hauled out. We had a real treat as we approached the dock. Two mature bald eagles were feeding on some bait fish as we watched! It’s pretty rare to watch eagles hunt into a bait-ball, how cool! They circled over and over capping a great day on the water!

-Michael Colahan

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Our young Humpback whale friend makes an appearance!

Seattle

We left the dock from Seattle today with a bit of wind in the forecast and a hearty group on board. We cruised past Blake Island, the reported birthplace of Chief Seattle. Entering Colvoss Passage we ducked out of the wind for a awhile and continued the search for whales. A mature bald eagle soared off the stern and seemed to track down a bit of food that some gulls were circling. When we reached Pt. Defiance we encountered a heavy rain squall, and also a humpback whale! Capt. Scott spotted the whale in the current lines and moved a little closer. Soon, this whale popped up right next to us on several occasions! We recognized this animal as a very young whale, most likely only a year old. We saw it bring it’s tail out of the water over and over, and the humpback even did a small cartwheel! What a treat! Harbor seals were all around the boat as well, searching for food just like the humpback. Cruising home, the sun came out and we stopped to watch a California sea lion feeding close to our dock. Great day!

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Sunshine in the Sound!

Seattle


Highlights
-Brant
-Bald eagle and gull after food
-Sunshine





 We embarked on our journey today and headed to the north. We spotted several Brant throughout our trip. We were on the search as we cruised toward Saratoga Passage. We saw a mature bald eagle and a gull both eyeing something in the water. Neither bird swooped down to retrieve it. But we were still on the search for whales! We continued north all the way up to Baby Island, off Whidbey Island. We cruised the east side of Possession Sound, scouring the shoreline. The sun actually broke through the clouds and shone for quite awhile. We continued searching to the south. Unfortunately, we didn’t find a whale today. All of our guests get to return for another trip. They will ride free, for life, until the see a whale! We look forward to seeing everyone again soon!

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Still looking for the perfect gift for the whale lover in your life? Visit our gift shop at 1801 Commercial in Anacortes and we’ll help you finish your holiday shopping. Don’t forget our 50% off sale on 2017 whale watch gift certificates ends Dec. 24th at midnight! Order online at www.orcawhales.com! #islandadventures #welovewhales #imdreamingofablackandwhitechristmas

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Searching for whales with poroise

Winter whale watching can be like the NFL in December, somedays do not work out as good as others.   The Island Explorer 3 left Bell Harbor today expecting to see whales, as she always does.  There has been one of our resident gray whales sighted consistently around Whidbey Island, a humpback that has been moving between Possession Point and Tacoma, and on Thursday and Friday there were resident killer whales right off Seattle.  There has also been multiple groups of transient killer whales coming in and out of Puget Sound for the last few weeks.  All of this information gave us high hopes leaving the dock even with the spotting conditions not quite perfect, due to the weather.   We did see bald eagles in flight and harbor porpoises, along with amazing views of the Seattle Skyline and Puget Sound.  Unfortunately, there were no whales on this trip.  This is good news for many of our guests, as they do get to come again for free.  Just like the Seahawks, we will regroup and be ready for next week.

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A fine adventure in the Puget Sound!

Seattle

California sea lion
Bald eagle
Elusive baleen whale
Rainbow

We left the dock on our search today and headed to the north. We spotted several different species of birds on our trip: Brant geese, grebes, cormorants and a bald eagle! A sharp-eyed passenger spotted a California sea lion aimed for our stern wake. We continued north toward Possession Point on Whidbey Island. We searched and searched into Admiralty Inlet. The sun poked through the clouds, treating us to a beautiful rainbow for almost an hour! We turned back toward the south, hugging the Kitsap Peninsula side, I spotted a spout in the calm water along the shoreline behind us! I saw it again! I alerted Captain Scott and we turned the boat. It was all eyes on deck as we scoured the shoreline and out into the middle of the channel. We searched and searched and searched, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to spot the animal again. We turned toward the south, in case the animal was headed that direction, but with no luck. We continued searching the Kitsap Peninsula and Bainbridge Island side of Puget Sound. We made our way back toward the dock and unfortunately weren’t able to find another, more cooperative whale. So, since no one saw a whale on our trip today, everyone gets to come back for free, for life, until they see a whale! It was a lovely day on the water and we look forward to seeing everyone again soon!

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Reports of Orcas in Puget Sound!

Seattle
 

We’ve been closely following reports today of a large group of killer whales in the Puget Sound.  At noon, several animals were seen near Edmonds slowly traveling south.  By 3:00 PM, they were sighted near Shilshole. At this pace, they should be in front of downtown Seattle by sunset!

Things look very promising for our Seattle tours this Saturday and Sunday!  Tours depart at 11:00 AM from Pier 66.  Spread the word! 

Photo Credit: Cara Hefflinger

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Breaching Humpback!

Seattle

Our tour today took us north from Seattle on the search for whales. We saw several harbor seals lined up near the waterfront and stopped to see if they were feeding. Moving on, we continued north pushing toward Possession Point. We scanned and scanned, but nothing popped up. Capt. Carl took us toward the Possession Point navigational marker where four Steller sea lions were hauled out! They were lounging on one another and looked pretty comfy! We left the sea lions and Carl spotted a whale in the distance! We saw several exhalations and a far-off breach! We traveled into the area where the whale was and waited. And waited some more. Then, out of the blue, a huge breach right next to the boat! It was a juvenile humpback whale strutting it’s stuff! So Cool! We watched this whale for a bit and got a chance to see it’s tail come out of the water a few times! We eventually lost it in the building wind waves and went to search for more. Passing another navigation marker on the way home we spotted a large California sea lion hauled out as another sea lion circled the buoy. This other big boy launched out of the water and landed on the marker! We had a really nice Seattle skyline tour that Tyson narrated for us as we approached the dock. What a day with a sweet breach from our humpback buddy!

-Michael Colahan

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Orcas and a gray from Seattle!

Seattle


-Beautiful day, no rain
-Orcas
-Gray whale #723



We took off from our slip at the marina with a hearty group of folks! We headed north on our search today with flat calm waters and no rain! We trekked toward Admiralty Inlet and we spotted fins! We had members of our fish eating orcas! The whales we spotted were members of J pod: J16 (Slick), J26 (Mike), J42 (Echo), J50 (Scarlett), J27 (Blackberry), J31 (Tsuchi), J39 (Mako), J17 (Princess Angeline), J35 (Tahlequah), J44 (Moby), J46 (Star), J47 (Notch), J53 (Kiki), J22 (Oreo), J34 (Doublestuf), J38 (Cookie), L87 (Oynx), J37 (Hy’Shqa), J40 (Suttles), J45 (Se’Yi-chn), J49 (T’ilem Enges) and J19 (Shachi). We spent a lot of time with these whales as they swam right by us multiple times! It was amazing! They were fishing and socializing! We enjoyed watching these whales frolic in the calm waters! Eventually, we had to start to head back toward home port – we were already going to be late! As we picked up speed to head back, Captain Carl found us another species of whale! We had found our gray whale buddy #723, Lucy(fer)! We had a few great looks at him, but he definitely surprised us by coming right over to the boat! Incredible! We watched him for a few more minutes before we had to head back to Seattle. What a day! 

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