Archive for the ‘charter boat san juan island’ Category

Humpback Whale at Halibut Island, Canada for our last tour

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

No orca whale reports today, BUT as we pulled out of Friday Harbor the Captain received word of a humpback whale by Halibut Island, Canada. It took us nearly an hour to get to the location but there it was – a beautiful humpback whale. It looked as though it was feeding the entire time we were with it – almost ½ an hour. When it dove down, one could see many of the ‘knuckles’ on it’s back.  Two of the many dives it waved it tail gently before disappearing into the water. Speaking of water, the depth of the water in that location was about 150 feet deep.

This was the last tour of the season.

I

 

We will reopen for whale & wildlife  tours April 14, 2012. See you next year!

Naturalist, Colleen Johansen

 

An “A” Whale and Wildlife Charter Tour

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

  Today with beautiful weather the two Kenmore Air sea planes touched down at the dock and we were there waiting to take the guests for a wildlife tour.  The group included people from Denmark, Sweden and Japan.

We went down the east side of San Juan Island stopping a few times to view birds and harbor seals. We had a good look at a mature bald eagle, solo, at the top of a tree. As we neared the southern-most tip of the island, we stopped (turned off the engine) and sat to watch some big stellar sea lions.  10-15 sea lions sunning on a rock outcropping with 100’s of pelagic cormorants. The rocks were literally covered with animals.

We started up again heading north. There were a number of commercial vessels out fishing today with nets out. The guests and I saw several orca whales go right up to one of these boats. I wondered if they were going to try to get fish out of the net, but then they just moved along. There were also many markers bobbing about as crabbing season has RE-opened.

Further north up the west side we saw a male orca solo.  We were stopped and watched him for a bit.
We started up going slowly north were we encountered a few more orca whales. I remember a group of 3, either all females or females with a young male. The whales were not coming out of the water – just enough to breath. There were many small groups of whales and seemed to be spread out over a large area.

With the engines off and the hydrophone down (50’) we were treated to the whale calls/song/clicks. I can never grow tired of this.  There was a good deal of vocalization today too!

We moved a bit more north were different whales were seemingly on a northern journey. Again, with engines off, we sat just staring to the coast of San Juan Island where whales were popping up and sliding back down. We even saw 2 tail slaps that looked like a juvenile.

We came home stopping near Speiden as one of the guests spotted 4 Harlequin Ducks swimming by. The captain turned the boat around so that Peter, the birder, with a 400 mm lens, could get a really good photo. He was thrilled and so was I. (hope he sends us the photo).

How would I grade this trip? The fog from the morning lifted and the planes came on time, it did not rain, it was not cold, we saw Stella Sea Lion, Cormorants, Harbor Seals, Bald Eagle, Orca Whales, Harlequin Ducks, Heermann’s Gull, Loons, Common Murres, Pigeon Guilemots and more. It was an “A” Trip.

Naturalist, Colleen Johansen

Tail End of the Season

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Headed south down the east side of San Juan Island.A single mature bald eagle was spotted up in a tree. We paused to view it, then off it went. We went a bit further south, then stopped a rock outcrop with TONS of Stellars Sea Lions. Lounging, posturing, snoozing, swimming. They where piled up with scads of  cormorants and a variety of gulls. You could smell that these animals were all fish eaters. (Hey, watch it, I kinda like that fragrance!) The boat sat with the engine off and twirled in the current. Pretty cool right at that spot in the water.

50/50 chance of seeing whales is what I gave it. BUT . . . It was a WHALE day for sure.  We were on the west side of San Juan Island south of Lime Kiln, north of False Bay, about a mile from shore. A single male resident orca surfaced. Solo. We could not see any other whales for quite some time.  The boat moved further north, then we began to see what looked like two females.  While sitting with the engine off, after about 20 mintues, a female off our bow start slapping her pectoral fin. Over and over.she slapped.  Almost as if waving to us.  She kept this up for several minutes. I am not sure just how many orcas there were. They were all very s p r e a d out. None were breaching. None were surfacing. It seemed like heavy duty prey finding.

There was a report of Humpback whales 3 miles from us -  closer to Canada. Off we went.  There were a few other boats already on scene. Two humpbacks were swimming side by side in sync with each others movements. Another whale was solo. I kept expecting a fluke. Sure enough, when I was not looking, Shelly saw the tail. We stayed with these whales about 20 minutes. Then we turned and started homeward – southish. The orcas were still in the same area. Stilled looked like fishing and eating mode to me.

What a great “Tail End of the Season tour this was!

Naturalist, Colleen Johansen

 

Orca Whales, A Loon, A Brown Peligan, Dall’s Porpoise & Stellar Sealion on our Last Daily Tour

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Yes, we saw orca whales today on the 2nd of October – late in the whale watching season.  We took off from Friday Harbor, San Juan Island heading north toward Spieden Island.  As we neared Speiden, one of the guests spotted a large brown head which turned out to be a great big stellar sea lion fishing by himself.  We stayed on the south side of Speiden and Shelly spotted a mature bald eagle up in a tree. Down below the Mouflon Sheep and Sitka Deer were roaming about.

We pushed on to Haro Strait and started south down Henry Island to the west side of San Juan Island. We were a bit south of Kellet’s Buff and north of Lime Kiln Point when orca whales came into view. It was part of L pod that we were viewing.  We sat for about 40 minutes watching the orca pursuing fish. Surfacing for air, switching directions back and forth the whales this up the entire time we sat there. Capt. Mike put down the hydrophone and there was some whale calls that could be heard. Light calling – not a lot.

As we headed further south on the west side, some Dall’s porpoise started riding our bow. Brief, but what a treat.  As the water was gliding I by, I screamed out “loon!” and sure enough it was.  Then at the southern tip of the island I spotted a BROWN Pelican in a raft of sea birds. Brown pelican may be common where you are from, but they are a bit of a rarity here in the islands.  Near Lopez Island, we stopped at a large rock outcropping to view at least 30 stellar sea lion, what seemed like hundreds of cormorants and gulls.  One could definitely smell these animals prior to actually seeing them.

What made this trip so enjoyable for me was that every guest on the boat seemed interested in anything Shelly or I could tell them about the area, birds, trees and wildlife.
This is the last daily tour of the season for us and what a trip it was.

Guest Sends In Orca, Cormorant, Gull, Sea Lion (and more) Photos for the Contest

Friday, September 2nd, 2011
 Schalk August 27, 2011 killer whale aka orca whale off San Juan Island

Schalk August 27, 2011 killer whale aka orca whale off San Juan Island

Schalk August 27, 2011 MV Sea Lion 55' new fast boat San Juan Island

Schalk August 27, 2011 MV Sea Lion 55' new fast boat San Juan Island

Schalk August 27, 2011 Orca whale off San Juan Island

Schalk August 27, 2011 Orca whale off San Juan Island

Schalk August 27, 2011 Orca whale in the mist off San Juan Island

Schalk August 27, 2011 Orca whale in the mist off San Juan Island

Schalk August 27, 2011 Orca whale breaching off San Juan Island

Schalk August 27, 2011 Orca whale breaching off San Juan Island

Schalk August 27, 2011 Orca whale and the Sidney Ferry off San Juan Island

Schalk August 27, 2011 Orca whale and the Sidney Ferry off San Juan Island

Schalk August 27, 2011 Lions Mane Jelly off San Juan Island

Schalk August 27, 2011 Lions Mane Jelly off San Juan Island

Schalk August 27, 2011 cormorant in flight near San Juan Island

Schalk August 27, 2011 cormorant in flight near San Juan Island

Schalk August 27, 2011 1500 0 2500 lb Stellar Sea Lions near San Juan Island

Schalk August 27, 2011 1500 0 2500 lb Stellar Sea Lions near San Juan Island

Schalk 8-27-11 Looks like a Heeramans Gull off San Juan Island

Schalk 8-27-11 Looks like a Heeramans Gull off San Juan Island

Schalk 8-27-11 Looks like a male orca from the resident orcas taken on a charter

Schalk 8-27-11 Looks like a male orca from the resident orcas taken on a charter

Schalk 8-27-11 Looks like a male orca from the resident orcas taken on a charter

Schalk 8-27-11 Looks like a male orca from the resident orcas taken on a charter

Schalk 8-27-11 Jump! Orca whale.

Schalk 8-27-11 Jump! Orca whale.

Schalk 8-27-11 Orca whales on move near San Juan Island

Schalk 8-27-11 Orca whales on move near San Juan Island

Sea Lions off San Juan Island from a 5:30 Sunset Tour

Monday, August 29th, 2011
Attached are two pictures of Sea Lions, taken during my visit to San Juan Island last week. These pictures were taken while on the Whale Watching tour with San Juan Safari, on 8/20 – the Sunset Tour.
Sending these for the photo contest, under “Other Wildlife” category.
Ashwin

Sea Lion off San Juan Island by Ashwin

Sea Lion off San Juan Island by Ashwin

Sea Lion near San Juan Island

Sea Lion near San Juan Island

Whales galore

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

After two whole days without orcas around (but with Humpbacks and Minkes!) our residents returned to the sound in full force.

There were lots of animals around on the way up to see the whales: harbor seals, harbor porpoises, and even a bald eagle! As for the whales,  there were groups representing all 3 pods up in the area between Stuart and Pender Islands.  When we came on scene the whales we were with appeared to be resting.

After about 20 minutes they suddenly turned around and sped up.  There were whales everywhere. We were surrounded! As we prepared to leave the area a Humpback appeared, heading north.  We had heard about the animal earlier in the day.  We kept our distance and didn’t stop to watch the single whale, as it was entangled in fishing gear and there were boats around with the hopes of untangling it from the line.

Finally, on our way back we stopped around Speiden Island to view some mouflon sheep that were moving around right on the rocks near the water.

Laura and Kristen, Naturalists, San Juan Safaris

Spyhop

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

The black dorsals of J and K pod broke the chop of Haro Straight as we made our way towards Victoria. We then allowed the strong current that had worked against us to now be in our favor as it pushed us towards the west coast of San Juan Island, drifting beside the orcas. We saw Deadhead (K-27), who was named after the singer of the Grateful Dead who passed the year of her birth, and her three-week-old son. The passengers (and the naturalists) gasped as she unexpectedly spyhopped to check out her terrestrial surroundings. With a boat full of first-time whale watchers it was an exciting day!

Kirsten Dale, naturalist

San Juan Safaris Whale Watching & Wildlife Tours

Sunset – The Lighting Is Magical

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
LOrca off South West End of San Juan Island Sunset Whale Watch Tour

Orca off South West End of San Juan Island Sunset Whale Watch Tour

Last evening I got out from behind the computer and went on the 5:30 whale watching tour. It is the “lighting”. I just love it around 7:00 pm when eveyone’s faces are warm from the sunlight. The Madrone trees seem firey and the summer grass on the hills glows.

There were many, many whales out off San Juan Island last evening. A guest took a photo and Serena ID’d the orca as Cappucino. The orcas were doing lots of fishing.  The movements they were making near the surface – back and forth, back and forth – then there were some spy hops and some well, was it “love” in the water?

The seabirds were partying on an outcrop. Sea Lions and Harbor Seal were all having a snooze – lazin’ about.  A couple bald eagles were circumnavigating Spieden Island.

We passed through Mosquito Pass (Roche Harbor) named so because the boats through that passage were as thick as mosquitoes. We slowly passed homes gleaming in the late light, little private docks, little private boats, large private boats (none with helicopters tonight) and more Madrone trees popping out past Pearl Island near Spieden Island.

18 knots and 25 minutes later we came around the corner and there was our little town on the hill – Friday Harbor with its evening lights twinkling. Home Sweet Home.

 

 

Sea Lions and Seals Sunset Whale Watch Tour July

Sea Lions and Seals Sunset Whale Watch Tour July

Male Southern Resident Orca Whale Sunset Whale Watch Tour

Male Southern Resident Orca Whale Sunset Whale Watch Tour

Madrone Trees on the Sunset Whale Watch Tour

Madrone Trees on the Sunset Whale Watch Tour

Guest on the Sunset Whale Watch viewing snoozing harbor seals

Guest on the Sunset Whale Watch viewing snoozing harbor seals

Male Orca Dorsal on the Sunset Whale Watch Tour July

Male Orca Dorsal on the Sunset Whale Watch Tour July

Lookin' Around (spy hop) Taken on a Sunset Whale Watch Tour

Lookin' Around (spy hop) Taken on a Sunset Whale Watch Tour

It's a Sea Bird Party! Sunset off San Juan Island

It's a Sea Bird Party! Sunset off San Juan Island

Young Guests Viewing Wildlife at Sunset

Young Guests Viewing Wildlife at Sunset

There's A Serious Photographer - Photographers Love the Sunset Tour

There's A Serious Photographer - Photographers Love the Sunset Tour

Charter Boats, Friday Harbor San Juan Island, Near Seattle

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Recently we had a family group charter the Kittiwake boat for a family reunion.

They had our favorite caterer bring boxed lunches, sodas and home made goodies for the occasion. Kittiwake is certified for 24 passengers. When booking the public in, we limit this number to 12. When using her for a charter we like to limit it to 14 so that there is plenty of space for guests, food and guests belongings.

This boat charter saw orca whales, bald eagles, harbor seals, at least a dozen species of sea birds and lots and lots of island scenery.

Chartering the boat gave this family an opportunity to be isolated with their loved ones and they had the Captain and the Marine Naturalists all to themselves.

When they returned, they made sure to come into the office to tell us what a wonderful time they had and how great the crew was and how happy the were that they chartered the boat.

Charters start at $895.00

Charters start at $895.00