Humpbacks Galore in Port Angeles, Double-Header in Anacortes

Port Angeles

AM Tour:

Absolutely flat calm waters greeted us this morning making anything in the water easy to spot. Many harbor porpoise were seen on and off throughout our trip. The olympics had a good amount of cloud cover but some of the snow capped peaks   managed to shine through occasionally. Our first whale came as a pair of humpbacks feeding deep then resting at the surface   in between. They were whales we knew as BCY0523 and BCX1251 Orion. A little farther away we encountered another humpback also feeding and this one we didn’t recognize. After enjoying their company we continued our search and headed for Race Rocks.While there we found a myriad of pinnipeds from harbor seals and Stellar sea lions  to even 2 elephant seals. Ollie the sea otter even made an appearance. Birds were in abundance including 2 bald eagles, pigeon guillemots , cormorants, and black oyster catchers. As our time grew short we headed south ever vigilant for any more wildlife   that might appear. What a great morning out in the straits of Juan de Fuca.

PM Tour:

As we prepared to leave for our afternoon trip we couldn’t help but be excited as the water was glassy flat. It wasn’t long into our trip when the first harbor porpoise made an appearance. We traveled west  and found BCY0523 and BCX1251 Orion still hanging out together feeding and showing off their flukes. As we watched we noticed more humpback whales in the distance and we eventually went to check some more out. One of the whales turned out to be BCY0324 Big Mama. It was  amazing to see all the exhalations  in the distance. Being close to race rocks we took a little break to scope out the action there and found harbor seals  with a mom and pup nursing also. Steeler sea lions were abundant as were the seabirds along with one bald eagle. We continued our search and it took us to the far west with reports of lots of humpbacks . As we watched exhalations all around us we had one whale throw a cartwheel and then another breached in the distance. Naturally we headed over to the breaching whale to find out it was none other than BCX1068 Split Fluke and her new 2017 calf who was doing all the breaching while mom ate. We stayed as long as we could watching breach after breach until mom actually came and collected the calf  after eating her fill and put and end to the playtime. A long trip out west  that was well worth it to see all those humpbacks and great aerial displays.
Anacortes

AM Tour:

As soon as the boat got off the dock we decided we were going to head South in hopes of finding the first whales of the day! We made it by Whidbey Island and then heard reports of some Orcas just a few miles up ahead of us! We arrived on scene and saw that the whales we were with were the same Transients we saw yesterday morning, the T46’s! They were cruising at a steady pace as they went along the shore line. We left these whales as we went a tried to find some more wild life and ended up seeing a few looks at a Minke Whale popping up off the bow of the boat. This whale was pretty shy and didn’t hang around very long, so we decided to go see more of those orcas we had earlier because they were heading North towards the dock! We were with the whales for a little while until we had to start making our way back towards the dock! 


PM Tour:

Headed west through Guemes Channel to Rosario Strait and then southbound in Rosario. Spotted our first whale of the day! A humpback whale who had been pretty erratic before we got there, then began a slowly southbound trek. Fluked a couple of times. Popped up right off the bow, we got to see his blowholes!  Then turned north up Rosario Strait to Bellingham channel. Spotted rhinoceros auklets, common murres, pigeon guillemots and cormorants. Off point Lawrence we caught up with some orcas that were hauling northbound, at 7 knots! It was the T46s (T46, T46D, T46E, T46F and T122). They cruised northbound the entire hour plus we were with them! Saw some pretty lucky harbor porpoise, as the whales cruised by them without even looking twice. Nice looks as they headed toward Canada. A lot of quality time with them before heading home. Stopped by peapod rocks and found several harbor seals both hauled out and in the water, numerous black oystercatchers, and four bald eagles!  Awesome evening on the water!

from Blogger http://ift.tt/2uTwmUV
via IFTTT

Humpbacks, Transient Orcas, and a Minke Whale




Anacortes
10AM Tour
Blue skies all around and glimpses of an osprey just before we left Cap sante!!! We headed out guemes channel up into Rosario straight stopping at Pea pod rocks for our first wildlife. Here we found a large group of harbor seals and even a few immature bald eagles. After that we continued north through Barnes and Clark islands stopping at Matia island for another bald eagle. We continued from there to Sucia island where we found an eaglet in its nest!!! From there we continued north passed Patos island toward Saturna island. We got a call at this point and quickly turned down Boundary pass. In no time at all we joined up with BCX0870 a humpback known as divot. He gave us a great show and showed his flukes a bunch of times affording us some great looks. After that we headed inner island passing another eagle on White rock, heading through pole pass and then back to the dock!!! It was an amazing day!!!!

3:30 PM Tour
Calm seas and sunny skies made for easy cruising through the islands this evening. We made a stop at Peapod Rocks where dozens of harbor seals were laid out, including at least one mom and pup. We cut deep into Canadian waters tonight on the search for whales. In the middle of Georgia Strait, east of Vancouver city, we found the humpback whale Divit (BCX0870) cruising north. We stayed long enough to get several incredible views of his fluke as he dove deep before we cruised even further north to meet up with some transients. We met up with the T37As and T77s as they raced south down the Strait. Further south T51 was northbound, and when the two groups met cruising behavior turned into social hour for all the transient orcas present. Tail slaps, breaching, orcas swimming upside-down, it was hard to know where to look as they actively zigzagged in every direction! We reluctantly left the pods to make our way back towards Anacortes, taking in views of Mount Baker and the San Juans all the way home.

Port Angeles

With a brisk and sunny day we headed out in search of whales. We checked out the salmon pens with the salmon jumping all over and seals lurking outside the pens. More harbor seals greeted us at Ediz Hook along with a lone adult bald eagle.. As we headed northwest in the straits the Olympic mountains started to peak through the clouds. It wasn’t long before we spotted our first whale and he is one we know well. He is a humpback named Stitch. we enjoyed his company for awhile and even saw a tail throw from him. There were some other humpbacks in the area so we went and checked them out. We had two that had long down times so we decided to head over to Race rocks and check out the lighthouse and all the wildlife there. Tons of harbor seals dotted the rocks and pigeon guillemots flew around them. We also saw 4 Steeler sea lions and one of them has a massive wound on his side either from a shark or an orca attack so we know he was one lucky survivor. As we headed back across the straights we found our fourth humpback whale and though we didn’t know who he was he also looked like a survivor as he had orca rake marks on both his top and bottom flukes indicating he was probably attacked as a calf. We got to see him fluke a few times and had some really nice looks at him as he came close to the boat. By that time our time was running short and we had to head towards port after a wonderful day spent with our humpback friends.

La Conner

Sunny and a little bumpy in the Strait.  Saw great blue herons, eagles, caspian terns, black oystercatchers as we left the slough to the south. Pigeon guillemots as we went under the bridge.  We sailed between Colville and Castle Rock and then behind Long Island and found two bald eagles perched in trees. One took flight and repositioned to another tree.  Harbor seals on mummy rocks.  Eagle at entrance to Fishermans bay.  Lunch on Lopez, then south down San Juan Channel and out to the strait.   We found an elusive minke whale south of Salmon Bank, then headed south to Hein Bank,  Eastern Bank, and Partridge Bank. There was plenty of bird activity on Partridge Bank.  North to Minor Island – three bald eagles and several harbor seals.

from Blogger http://ift.tt/2t8aSmW
via IFTTT

Resident Orcas Off San Juan Island

Anacortes:

Highlights:
Rhinoceros auklets in Guemes Channel
Harbor seals on rocks near Shark Reef
Bald eagles throughout the entire trip
Resident orcas (members of J and K pods)!!

We had an awesome trip filled with tons of orcas!  We spent time with members of the J14s and K16s off Eagle Point on the westside of San Juan Island.  The weather was great and so were the whales!

La Conner: 

Highlights:
SO many great blue herons
Bald eagles
White pelicans off March Point
Black oystercatchers at Swirl Rocks
Steller sea lion at Whale Rocks
Resident orcas (members of J pod)

What an amazing day on the water!  We left the dock and headed north out of the slough past the train bridge and down Guemes Channel passing the Anacortes waterfront.  We made it over to the westside of San Juan Island where we spent time with members of Jpod resident orcas : L87, J22, J38, J16, J26, J42, J50, J19, J41, and J51.  Great whale time all before heading to lunch in Fisherman’s Bay on Lopez Island.  After lunch we made our way back toward out dock in La Conner through Deception Pass.  Beautiful.



p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Arial; color: #232323; -webkit-text-stroke: #232323}
span.s1 {font-kerning: none}

from Blogger http://ift.tt/2ufZt0t
via IFTTT

Double-Header from Anacortes and Double-Digit Humpbacks from Port Angeles



Anacortes Highlights:
T65A Transient Orcas
Humpback BCZ0180 “Monarch”
Harbor Seals
Harbor Porpoise


Sunny and calm with just a slight ocean swell when out in the Strait. We encountered harbor porpoise in Rosario Strait and then made a slow down near the south end of Lopez Island where we found multiple harbor seals hauled out, pigeon guillemots, and a mature bald eagle perched on Swirl Rocks.  South of Salmon Bank we found a humpback identified as BCZ0180 (Monarch).  Monarch’s breath patterns were a bit unpredictable today, but we saw some gorgeous flukes twice. Next we headed north up Haro Strait into Canada and trekked up to Beaver Point where transient orcas, the T65As, were headed southbound. T65A3 was alone leading the group with her family trailing behind. We went a long way to get them but it was worth it.  We headed home inner island, ending a sunshine filled day and two species under our belt!





Port Angeles Highlights:
Too Many Humpbacks to Count
Sparring Elephant Seals
Sea Otter
Bald Eagle


What a beautiful day awaited us. Blue skies, flat seas and the Olympic Mountains in full view along with Mt Baker in the distance. A few harbor seals popped up alongside us as we idled out of the harbor.Harbor porpoise were spotted breaking the surface of the water as we cruised in the straits. Not long after we spotted our first whale of the day ..a humpback whale named Stitch. He was feeding in the current lines  and staying at the surface  on a regular basis. A lot of direction changes brought him close to our boat and he seemed to want to feed right near us rolling on his side a few times showing  us half flukes . As we watched we could see other whale watch boats in the distance and  they also had 2-3 whales around them and we had 2 more off to our side feeding not far from stitch. We could see at least 8 or more humpback whales. We finally broke away from stitch and headed over to race rocks  with 3 more humpbacks surfacing not far from us. All the whales were feeding near the surface and were not really flaking so identities were kept hidden from us. At Race Rocks  we got great views of the lighthouse and all the harbor seals hauled out on the rocks. Black oystercatchers and pigeon guillemots  speckled the rocks. Ollie the sea otter was wrapped up in kelp and trying to be inconspicuous. We got lucky and had some good looks at the elephant seals as a few males decided to spar it out. We continued on our way heading back across the straits and  found 5 more humpbacks and once again they were feeding close to the surface and made many close passes by the boat. One even rolled on his side bringing up his white pectoral fin close enough we could see the barnacles on it..As the day  continued we  found ourselves having to say goodby to our friends and head for home. We couldn’t have asked for a better day!

from Blogger http://ift.tt/2tYlz7t
via IFTTT

Are you in the La Conner area and looking for something fun and affordable to do this weekend? We have 2.5-hour Deception Pass wildlife tours tonight and tomorrow tonight departing from downtown La Conner at 6:00 PM. Tickets are just $29 plus taxes and fees per person! Call 1-800-465-4604 or visit www.orcawhales.com to make your reservation. #visitskagit, #exploreskagit, #magicskagit, #skagitvalley

via Island Adventures Whale Watching http://ift.tt/2rM0xID

If anyone is close to Anacortes and looking to get out on the water this evening, we do have orcas VERY close to Anacortes today!!! We are hoping for lots and lots of time with this animals on the afternoon tour — Boarding time is 3PM for a 3:30PM departure (4-5 hour long tour). Tickets only $79+taxes and fees per adult and kids (age 3-17) only $49+taxes and fees! Come on in and see us for a great evening on the water aboard the Island Explorer 5!!

via Island Adventures Whale Watching http://ift.tt/2tudLeq

Transient Orcas, Close-Up Humpbacks, and GOATS!

Anacortes Highlights:
T2C Transient Orcas
GOATS!
Harbor Seals
Bald Eagles
We started down Guemes Channel passing harbor porpoise and cormorants, then north up Rosario Strait.  There were plenty of harbor seals on south Peapod and a mature bald eagle on north Peapod.  We continued north and eventually crossed into Canada for our whale sighting today, the transient family the T2C’s that aren’t often spotted here.  We followed them for quite a while, from Java Rocks to Monarch Head where we also found one of the neatest sightings – a huge group of billy goats on the rocks near the water.  After meeting back up with the orcas (complete with a few tail slaps and a spy hop!) we traveled south along the east side of Sucia Island and found more eagles and a California sea lion snoozing on a buoy north of Guemes!
Port Angeles Highlights:
Multiple Humpbacks
Bald Eagle
Elephant Seals


Another beautiful day out in the straits even though it was rainy onshore thanks to the rain shadow effect. We headed off to find whales but had to stop at the harbor entrance to admire two male California sea lions basking on the buoy. We had a bald eagle perched on a pole outside the coast guard station allowing us great looks and harbor seals  stared at us from the water wondering what we were looking at. We found our first whale not far off just north of the Elwha River  in the current lines. As we watched it became apparent there were  two humpback whales in a slow sleeping mode just heading west . We stayed with them for a while and then a third humpback appeared not far from our duo. Two of our humpbacks turned out to be one named Boulder and the other one was BCX1193 Zig Zag.The third appeared to be a new whale not in the official ID guides, but nicknamed “Hemlock”. As we continued on with out whales a fourth whale appeared and this humpback was one we know as Nike. We were able to identify them by the underside of their flukes as the raised them out of the water letting everyone see the difference with 3 black flukes and one with quite a bit of white. With Race Rocks not too far off we continued our search for whales and headed to Race Rocks getting beautiful looks at the granite lighthouse. Harbor seals were aplenty today dotting almost all the lower rocky ledges. California sea lions and stellar sea lions  had their favorite spots on the higher rocks. A real great treat was the 5 elephant seals we got to see…two of which were hauled out allowing us to see just how really big they are  being our largest pinniped. A mated pair of bald eagles sat atop the rocks survey their domain. Heading home and always on the lookout  we saw a whale in the distance breach three times but he settled down before we  got  close to him . He was feeding and heading west so we eventually had to part ways  and head back to port. All in all a perfectly fine day to be out on the water.

from Blogger http://ift.tt/2sirJT7
via IFTTT

Just how big IS a humpback whale? 🐋 Our Port Angeles team found out tonight while posing next to a life-size model of one of our favorite local whales, “Big Mama”, following a talk by Cascadia Research Collective’s John Calambokidas at Peninsula College. We’ve been seeing plenty of humpbacks from all three of our departure locations in recent weeks. Very cool!

via Island Adventures Whale Watching http://ift.tt/2rvsx5H

Orcas and Humpbacks in the Sun

Anacortes Highlights:
Two Humpback Whales
Transient Orcas (T65A’s)
Bald Eagles
Harbor Porpoise

Another great double-header on the Island Explorer 5!  We had plenty of porpoise, cormorants, and pigeon guillemots in Rosario Strait and a bald eagle near the Lopez Island ferry terminals.  North of Stuart Island we came across two humpback whales including BCX1057 swimming very close to each other and to shore.  After that, there was word of orcas near Turn Point so we headed there and got looks as they traveled along the rocky shoreline.  We found another bald eagle on our inner island route home and sunbathing harbor seals at Pointer Island before returning home!





Port Angeles Highlights:
Humpback Whale BCY0057
Race Rocks
Bald Eagles
Harbor Porpoise

Blue skies all day with views of Mt. Baker and the snowy Olympic Mountain Range. The trip started and ended with glassy calm seas. With no reports yet we first headed to the rockpile and gave it a major sweep. With no whales in sight we coordinated with other boats in the area and did a major search of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Finally a humpback whale was spotted a few miles south of Race Rocks. We got a few good tail shots and then a really close surfacing right off the bow! The whale was ID’d as Niagara BCY0057. Niagara seemed to be in feeding mode because of the long dive times and short surfacings. After this encounter we headed to Race Rocks and saw lots of cool sea life such as harbor seals, Steller and California sea lions, and two bald eagles. After Race Rocks we headed back to the whale and got a couple more tail shots before heading home. Once at the dock, a few guests were lucky enough to see three river otters swimming nearby!




from Blogger http://ift.tt/2rNtyGF
via IFTTT