Clear Skies, Calm Waters, and LOTS of Whales!

Anacortes

10:00 AM


We headed out with clear blue skies and flat calm water. As we cruised down Rosario strait Captain Carl found us a minke whale that gave us some great looks. After that we continued south toward the Olympic peninsula we got two harbor seals in a very intense fight at Smith bank. They were really at each other’s throats. We continued from there to eastern bank where we joined two humpbacks that were traveling east. We got lots of flukes from them as they traveled west. After that we went toward Dungeness spit and joined the T60’s. We had an amazing show watching them as they traveled taking the occasion deep dive. We were seeing lots of porpoise near the T’s but they seemed uninterested. After that we headed to Colville for some more harbor seals and then returned to anacortes

3:30 PM 
We cut north up the east side of Guemes Island, heading in the direction of recent whale reports. We continued north past Barnes and Clark, stopping on the north side of Sucia to visit with over fifty hauled out harbor seals and some foraging oyster catchers. Not ten minutes later we were on scene with transient killer whales. We had to cut the engines as they made an abrupt turn to come check out our boat. We sat in awe as the T65A pod of five dove under our boat and continued towards Mt. Baker in the distance. We cruised with them for some time, watching as they slowly cruised and appeared to be in resting mode. We hugged the west coast of Lumi Island on our trip home, stopping off at Viti Rocks to watch the double-crested cormorants drying out after their dives. 

Port Angeles

Fantastic is the only way to describe the weather conditions. Blue skies. mirror like water and warm air all made for the perfect day. We headed north knowing there were reports of transient orcas near Trial Island heading south. Along the way we spotted harbor porpoise and lots of common murres. Mt Baker was outstanding today. Making our way across the straits we eventually caught up the the orcas to find the T60 family of 5 including T60 the mom, her 16 year old son T60C, his younger brother T60D, a nine yearly sibling T60E and their youngest sister at 5 years old T60E. They were traveling west  as a family unit for quite a while and then they separated  into 2 groups in possibly hunt mode. We stayed with them for along time and as other boats arrived on scene we decided to go look for other animals. We headed east to where our sister ship the IE5 had found 2 humpbacks  and had some amazing closeups as the came along side our boat. As we got their they decided they needed to go somewhere out west so they started traveling side by side  as we kept pace with them getting some really great looks at their flukes and finding they are not in our ID catalog,one being a solid  black fluke the other an all white fluke..Their travels once again took us near to our orca family as they had continued traveling south so we departed the humpbacks to go watch the orcas one more time. Lucky for us they headed west and took us towards home so we were able to get some more quality time with the T60’s  and even had some awesome close passes. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.



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There are only a handful of 2.5-hour La Conner wildlife cruises remaining this season, including one this evening at 6:00 PM. Tonight’s weather should make for a spectacular time on the water. Tickets are just $29 plus taxes and fees! For more information, or to book, visit http://ift.tt/2oJDVLd

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Another Whale-Filled Day!


Port Angeles

9:30 AM

The day started with mostly blue skies and a gentle breeze! As we left the harbor we got to see a large cluster of harbor seals relaxing on the beach. We decided to head west on the search for whales. With help from our whale watching friends from Victoria, we found a humpback whale south of secretary island. We were able to hang out alongside the whale for an hour as it seemed to take a nap! However, at one point the whale seemed to wake up and performed a big peduncle throw! After getting looks at the tail we realized it was Stitch! We then headed east toward race rocks, which was full of more sleepy wildlife! Sundays must be rest day for everyone! We saw many more harbor seals, stellar sea lions, California sea lions, and a gull trying to steal a snack from Ollie the sea otter! It was a beautiful way to spend a morning on the water!






3:00 PM


This afternoon the wind picked up enough to give us an adventurous ride! With reports of killer whales last spotted near dungeness spit, we headed east in search of the whales! We were able to catch the whales as they were heading west! We identified the pod as the T30s with what looked like a very young calf! We got great looks as the whales surfed in the waves! Then when the whales turned north, we were about to head away when we spotted two heart shaped blows off behind us — humpback whales!! These whales seemed to be in a resting pattern and slowly traveled east. We got excellent looks at our second whale species of the day before heading to the tip of the spit to see a group of harbor seals and making our way home!





Anacortes

10:00 AM

Headed out this morning with nice weather coming in. We made our first stop at Pointer island for some harbor seals. Before entering Thatcher pass reports came in of animals to the south so we made a quick turn and headed south in Rosario Strait. We began passing harbor porpoise and then headed to Castle rock for a nice slow up. We found a mature eagle on Castle rock and a few sea stars on Blind island. From there we cruised south passed Smith island and met up with a group of Orcas just north of protection island. It was the T30’s and they gave us many good looks as they made a few close passes to the boat. After an amazing show from the orcas we headed back to Smith island where we found a bunch of tufted puffins. It was an amazing day on the water

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3:30 PM 

This time we went out Guemes channel and headed north in rosario strait. We got great views of mount baker, sea birds and porpoise as we went along. Our first stop was at Peapod Rocks for looks at dozens of harbor seals and even a mature bald eagle. After that we headed around orcas island and joined a group of orcas just south of the Sisters. It was the T65A’s and they gave us a spectacular show. At one point they graced with a very close pass just feet off the side of the boat. We got some amazing looks at them as we followed them south in the strait. After that we cruised up to lummi island and went down her western shore. We made a stop at Vendovi Island for looks at another mature bald eagle before returning around the north side of Guemes to Anacortes.



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Our naturalist, Clare, from the IE5 captured this shot of the IE4 in Deception Pass last night. The afternoon whale watch from Anacortes is sold out today, but you can still get on the water for a scenic 2.5-hour wildlife cruise for just $29 plus taxes and fees! Tours depart at 6:00 PM from downtown La Conner. To learn more or to make your reservation, visit http://ift.tt/2oJDVLd #goskagit, #lovelaconner, #islandadventures

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A Crazy, Hazy Day – Humpbacks, Transients, and a GRAY WHALE!


Port Angeles


9:30 AM

INCREDIBLE MORNING ON THE WATER! Before the tour even began, we spotted a raccoon under the dock and a great blue Herron catching fish! Then with early reports of our resident killer whales heading west, we put the pedal to the metal and cruised toward their location so we could catch them before they were out of range. Across the flat calm strait we had many sightings of harbor porpoise in feeding mode! When we arrived near beachy head, we were treated to a large group of Lpod spread out into several smaller groups. The group included L72, 91, 92, 55, 105, and 5-10 others! We got lots of close passes and fantastic looks! We then turned east to head to race rocks when we were interrupted by a lone GRAY WHALE who was sleepily headed west. What a treat to see a gray whale so out of season! Next we went through race rocks where we saw many stellar sea lions, harbor seals, a mature bald eagle, and a big elephant seal amongst the sea lions! What a beautiful morning!!! 

3:00 PM

Started the trip with glassy seas! After hearing reports of humpbacks across the strait at Constance bank, we headed north while catching great looks of harbor porpoise along the way! When we arrived, it appeared to be a mother and calf who were split up about a quarter mile apart. We got really nice fluke shots of the larger whale but we’re unable to identify the individual. Then out of the blue, the large whale gave a massive full body breach!!! It was amazing! We soon headed west to do some exploring. We went through race rocks where we encountered lots of dueling stellar sea lions, and many harbor seals! We then continued west where we found two humpbacks initially traveling together, but soon splitting off and heading different directions. We followed one east and got great tail shots before turning and heading back to the dock! 






La Conner

It was a hazy and calm day.  We headed south downthe channel. Saw a couple of great blue herons, several Caspian terns, a dozen black oystercatchers, and a couple of bald eagles as we cruised through the channel. Harbor seals hauled out on Strawberry Island. Under the bridge, out toward the strait. Several harbor porpoise throughout our trip. Skirted San Juan Island and headed into Canada to find a humpback whale! He surfaced a couple of times at pretty close range, surprising us all! Some nice looks before we headed into Lopez for lunch. Then we headed south down San Juan Channel for Cattle Pass and back out toward the strait. Continued on our search under the bridge. Found several more bald eagles and gbhs on our trip back through the channel to la Conner.

Anacortes

10:00 AM
Our morning tour enjoyed very calm conditions with just a bit of haze hanging in the air.  We took the scenic inner island route from Anacortes to Haro Strait, going through Pole Pass, a great shortcut to get to Haro Strait.  It was there, between Henry Island and Sidney Island that we encountered a new-to-us humpback whale!  This juvenile had a distinct injury on the left side of his/her fluke that can be used to identify the individual.  We had a few close surfacing and even got to see a “cartwheel” where the whales tail was thrown out of the water with a big splash.  Photos have been sent to a few research organizations, but this may be a new visitor to the Salish Sea!  On the way home we cruised by the north end of Spieden Island where we saw several bald eagles and a few harbor seals as well.  We took Wasp Pass coming home and enjoyed looking at the beautiful homes along the water.  It was a really nice afternoon!


3:30 PM

For our second tour of the day, we took a similar route through Pole Pass.  There were several boats looking for our humpback friend from the morning, but everyone had come up short.  After an extensive search pattern, the Island Explorer 5 earned some major bragging rights by relocating this young humpback near Saltspring Island!  The evening light through the haze was spectacular, creating a shimmery orange glow on the water, AND our humpback whale!  The whale seemed to have grown comfortable with us by the afternoon, coming up regularly quite close to our vessel.  As a finale, we were all treated to a  BREACH in the orange sunlight – fantastic!  On the way home, it was cool enough for the Spieden animals to come out to graze.  We spotted mouflon sheep, sika deer, and fallow deer feeding on the hillside as well as several bald eagle.  So much fun!  








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