LAST CALL FOR GRAY WHALES! There’s only one more week of gray whale tours from Everett, and it seems the whales have saved the best for last! We’ve averaged 4-5 gray whales on every tour this week. Don’t miss your opportunity to see these gentle giants before they head north for the summer! To learn more, visit http://ift.tt/2qt9UMn.

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The Return of “Split Fin” and Spyhopping Gray Whales!

Spyhopping Gray Whale 





La Conner Highlights: 
Humpback “Split Fin”
Harbor Porpoise
Steller Sea Lions
Bald Eagles
Deception Pass Bridge

Our full-day La Conner tour got to welcome back a fan-favorite, humpback whale BCZ0298, more commonly referred as “Split Fin”, a nickname earned by the easily-recognized “split” in the animal’s dorsal fin.  Split Fin is one of our regulars at this time of year, the 2006 calf of “Big Mama” who has also been spotted in the area in recent weeks. After a morning filled with Steller sea lions, rhinoceros auklets, great blue herons, harbor porpoise, and harbor seals, we stopped to enjoy lunch in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island!  After filling our bellies, the second half of the tour was spent observing Split Fin and we even got some looks at the tail flukes before longer dives.  We headed home under Deception Pass Bridge and got an impressive acrobatic display from some mature bald eagles!   In the evening, our La Conner wildlife tour visited the bridge again and saw harbor seals, pigeon guillemots, cormorants, and more!  It was a non-stop day of wildlife from beginning to end!

Humpback “Split Fin”
Split Fin


Steller Sea Lions


Deception Pass Bridge 



Everett Highlights: 
Multiple Spyhopping Gray Whales
California Sea Lions
Bald Eagles
Harbor Seals Feeding

Our afternoon tour featured five different gray whales, with confirmed sightings of #53, #49, and #56.  We had the pleasure of seeing at least FIVE spyhops from three different whales!  Guests also got stunning looks at a mated pair of bald eagles on a piling near Jetty Island and three more juvenile bald eagles on the beach.  For our sunset tour, there were still at least five gray whales spread out in the shallow river delta feeding.  Gray whale #44 was quite photogenic, giving us great looks at his tail flukes.  We also got to see several harbor seals, including one that was feasting on something tasty!

Pair of Gray Whales 
Mature Bald Eagles
Gray Whale Flukes

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Spanning more than a quarter of a mile and sitting an impressive 180 feet above the water’s surface, Deception Pass Bridge is one of the most photographed landmarks in Washington. See it and much more on our 2.5-hour wildlife cruise from La Conner TONIGHT at 6:00 PM! Tickets are a steal at just $29! For more information, visit: http://ift.tt/2oJDVLd (Photo Credit: Amit Chattopadhyay)

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How does that famous saying go? “April showers bring… WHALES!” We know you’re longing for sunny summer days, but whales don’t care about the weather! We’ve had out-of-this-world sightings of orcas, minkes, grays, and humpbacks this spring, and we don’t want you to miss out! Take advantage of our “Save Big Spring” promotion and get $20 off each adult ticket from Anacortes, Everett, or La Conner when you join us Monday through Friday. Make reservations or learn more about our tours and discounts at www.orcawhales.com!

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While we think it’s important to treat every day like Earth Day, we hope you’ll take some extra time today to think of new and fun ways to help our big, blue planet! Whether you plant a tree, organize a beach cleanup, or just raise awareness about a cause that’s important to you, get out there and do something great!

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Grays and a Humpback Wish Us a Happy Easter!

Anacortes
Trip Highlights:
  • Humpback whale
  • Stellar Sea Lions
  • Bald Eagles
  • Harbor Porpoise
Naturalist Notes:

Left anacortes with sunny blue skies all around. With great views of mount baker we plunged out into the San Juans in search of whales. We got some great looks at some harbor seals on a dock outside anacortes and then even more on Pointer island. We continued inner island and down San Juan channel encountering a large number of stellar sea lions near whale rocks. We continued south out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca where we joined a humpback that was showing some interesting behaviors. We got some great looks at the whale even though it was being very unpredictable. After that we went up to Castle rock where we found 5 different bald eagles all of which gave us great looks. We then headed north passing dozens of harbor porpoise along the way. Returned to the dock in blue skies and great weather! 

Everett

Trip Highlights:
  • Gray Whales (#53 and #49)
  • Rhinoceros Auklet
  • Pigeon Guillemot
  • Brandt’s Cormorants
  • California Sea Lions
Naturalist Notes:

We started with partly cloudy skies and calm seas. We began the trip with California sea lions on the navy pontoons and one hauled out on a green buoy. Very quickly we had helpful guests spot us a couple of gray whales off the south tip of hat island. They were identified as patch 49 and little patch 53. From afar we saw a big spyhop from one of the whales. We also saw lots of feeding behavior. We decided to head south to looks for other wildlife and found lots of marine birds including the rhinoceros auklet, pigeon guillemot, and Brandt’s cormorants. We also found another gray that had long downtimes and were unable to ID. We headed back to patch and little patch to hang out with them again. As we made our way back to the marina we got another encounter with the California sea lions.

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Transients from Both Locations – Great Gray Whales Too!

Double Breach!

Anacortes Highlights:

Transient Killer Whales: T49A’s, T65A’s, T65B’s
Steller Sea Lions
Bald Eagles

Our Anacortes tour today was, to use Captain Scott’s description, one of the best encounters with transient orcas we’ve ever had with Island Adventures!  We didn’t have to travel far to find our whales today just north of Cypress Island.  It was a group of transient killer whales including the T49A, T65A, and T65B family groups.  We must have caught them during playtime because we saw plenty of tail slaps, splashing, and DOUBLE BREACHES! We saw at least three synchronized breaches from this bunch!  After having an encounter of a lifetime, we did some exploring near Pea Pod Rocks where we saw some Steller sea lions and a mature bald eagle as well as several other sea birds.  Afterward we checked back in on our orcas who were now resting, perhaps worn out from the earlier activity.  On the way home we found plenty of harbor porpoise in Rosario Strait along with pigeon guillemots and cormorants.  Add to this the fact that it was warm and sunny all afternoon and you have the makings of a trip that will go down in history as a one of the best!

Everett 10AM Highlights:
Transient Orcas – T100’s
Harbor seals
Steller sea lion

While our Everett tours focus primarily on springtime gray whales, on occasion we are lucky enough to see other types of whales as well, and today we had a special visit from the T100 group of transient killer whales! We caught up with this group near Possession Point.  They even had a young calf in tow!  Other notable sightings included a photogenic Steller sea lion sunbathing on a buoy and harbor seals cruising around the marina.  


Everett 2PM Highlights:
Gray Whales in Port Susan 
California Sea Lions
Harbor Porpoise
Osprey

The sunshine continued into the afternoon.  We made our way toward Port Susan where we encountered two gray whales feeding nearshore.  Because of the sunshine, virtually every exhalation created a colorful “rain-blow”.  We also saw some California sea lions basking in the sun on a channel marker and our naturalist, Jami, was able to catch some great shots of some normally camera-shy harbor porpoise as well.  We even caught an aerial show from an osprey overhead!  

Everett 6PM Highlights:
Gray Whales in Port Susan
Harbor Seals 
California Sea Lions
Sunset!

The fun continued into the evening as we caught back up with our gray whales from earlier in Port Susan.  As we watched them, one even lifted its head out of the water a bit!  The water was flat calm, giving us great photos of this gray whale duo.  We saw a few harbor seals swimming around as well, and as the sun began to set and we headed home, we finished the day by stopping to look at some California sea lions near the Navy base settling in for the evening.  It was a perfect end to a perfect day of whale watching! 

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