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!




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Orcas and Humpbacks from Both Locations!





Port Angeles Highlights:
Lone Male Transient Orca
Humpback Whale
HUGE Elephant Seals!

It was a beautiful day – cloudy but calm waters greeted us. As we headed out into the straits, about 40 harbor seals were hauled out on the tip of Ediz Hook. Our search for whales brought us into Canadian waters where we were treated to one lone adult male transient orca slowly traveling eastward in a sleepy mode. After watching him for awhile we received a call about a humpback whale not far off so we ventured over to check him out. Calm waters must have put our whale friends in a sleepy mood for the humpback was also in a slow sleep travel mode. We left him to his nap and headed over to Race Rocks where we saw and amazing array of pinnipeds including our small harbor seals, barking California sea lions, and lounging steller sea lions. Our biggest treat was the large amount of massive elephant seals we witnessed!  A pair of bald eagles and lots of pigeon guillemots completed the scene. Harbor porpoise were spotted quickly surfacing through the water during our travels. The day ended with lots of sunshine  and smiles.



Anacortes Highlights:
Transient Orcas
Humpback Whale
Bald Eagles
Steller Sea Lions

More details coming soon!

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***SAVE BIG SUMMER IS HERE!*** With our fun new gift shop and departure location in Port Angeles, the debut of the Island Explorer 5 in Anacortes, and the entirely new full-day tours from La Conner, we have a lot to celebrate this summer! That’s why Island Adventures is offering our biggest summer sale EVER with the same huge discounts from all three summer departure locations! Now through Labor Day, all adults ride for $79 and kids 3-17 are just $49 plus taxes and fees! Check out www.orcawhales.com to find out which tour is right for you!

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Maiden Voyage of the IE5 from Anacortes, Humpbacks in Paradise from Port Angeles!

Thanks to Steve Berentson for capturing this fantastic photo of the Island Explorer 5! 
Anacortes Highlights
Maiden Voyage of the IE5! 
Humpback Whales
Elephant Seals
Sea Otter
Race Rocks

Today marked a momentous occasion – after two long years of design and construction, the beautiful Island Explorer 5’s maiden voyage was a huge success!  We started out down Guemes Channel and then into Rosario Strait where harbor porpoise abounded.  We came across plenty of harbor seals and pigeon guillemots at the south end of Lopez Island, and then came across an eagle’s nest in MacArdle Bay. After that, it was out to the west in record time!  We made our way to Race Rocks and found California sea lions, elephant seals, and A SEA OTTER! Cruised through a couple of times (since we had plenty of time), and then headed toward where the Island Explorer 3 from Port Angeles had found whales earlier. Before we could even get back up to speed, two humpback whales popped up right in front of us! It was BCX1057 and MMY0009. They surfaced simultaneously in a rhythmic breathing sequence. They popped up close to the boat as they resurfaced from their deep dive a couple of times! We could even hear them exhale. It was so exciting!  As we cruised back toward home, we caught a few quick glances of a bonus whale – a minke at Salmon Bank!  We headed in toward Whale Rocks and found several Steller sea lions hauled out and in the water. Two even chased each other into the water! They were running!  We navigated home through the inner islands, why? Because we could! We made it to Race Rocks, spent quality time with whales, had the chance to see animals that previously were quite rare to see on an Anacortes departure, even had enough time to cruise inner island. We were only 15 minutes late! Woohoo!

Look closely…. Can you spot the otter?

Port Angeles Highlights:
Humpback Whales
Harbor Seals
Sea Otter
California Sea Lions
It was a beautiful sunny day from Port Angeles with blue skies and calm seas and good looks at Mount Baker all day.  The day started with three California sea lions hauled out on a buoy just off the tip of Ediz Hook. We also saw a couple of harbor seals swimming nearby. We continued on north after a report of humpbacks in the area and caught up with one humpback about halfway between Port Angeles and Victoria. The whale showed us great looks of the tail and seemed to be showing some feeding behavior. After watching this whale for a while, we turned west and headed toward another report of several more humpbacks a few miles west of Race Rocks. We caught up with at least two more humpbacks, possibly three. There was lots of surface activity and even a couple pectoral slaps! The whales seemed to be socializing and rolling on top of each other!  We also got looks at a few bird species including common murres, pigeon guillemots, rhinoceros auklets, and harlequin ducks. As we departed, we caught up with a pod of harbor porpoises. We then cruised to Race Rocks where we saw more California sea lions, harbor seals, many cormorants, and even our resident sea otter in the kelp! We then made our way back to Port Angeles to continue enjoying the sunshine. 

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She’s here and she’s BEAUTIFUL! After two long years of design and construction, we are beyond thrilled to welcome the newest member of the Island Adventures fleet, the Island Explorer 5! This gorgeous 3-deck catamaran is ready to get out there and find her first whales. Weather looks fantastic through the entire long weekend, so come out and join us for her big debut!

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