Archive for the ‘orca whale watching near seattle’ Category

Whale Report June 27

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

With reports of Resident Orcas on the west side of San Juan Island and Transient Orcas north of Stuart Island, it was a tough call on which direction to take. Fortunately, heading north to search for Transients turned out to be a great choice! At Blundand Island (Gulf Islands, BC) we caught up to about 8 or more tightly grouped whales (48°43’86N 123°10’9W), including T102, that seemed to be slowly moving along the island until something kicked a pair into action and they repeatedly porpoised along the island, took a long dive, then surfaced along with the rest of the group.

Harbor porpoises were everywhere today – milling in San Juan Channel and in Boundary Pass.

We also watched Bald Eagles perched, as they kept an eye on their territory at Cactus Islands, along with one spotted on the flag pole at the end of Stuart Island, and another 2 at Flat Top Island. One was even perched on top of the National Wildlife Refuge sign. We also saw two Great Blue Herons at John’s Island.

Another great day on the water; sunny skies, glass-like seas, and excellent wildlife viewing!

Naturalists Tara, Kristen, and Shelly; San Juan Safaris

Transients Orcas and Summer weather!

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

Transients Orcas and Summer weather!

Fantastic day on the water:  treated to clear skies, summery temps, and a stunning view of Mt. Baker, we traveled north out of Friday Harbor, around the north side of Orcas Island, until catching up with Transient Orcas on the north side of Lummi Island. Counts varied, depending on who you talked to, but we agreed that we did see 7 total. Latitude 48°44’ Longitude 122°45’. As mesmerized as we were by the orcas, it was hard not to notice the many pairs of Rhinocerus Auklets calmly floating by, as well as a pair of Loons. Our day would not be complete without a Bald Eagle sighting, which was our final reward when a stately adult sailed overhead as we entered back into the marina.

Naturalists Shelly and Tara, San Juan Safaris

Sunny skies, calm seas

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

Excited by an early morning report that a large number of Orcas had been sighted off Cattle Point on San Juan Island, we could not wait to get out on the water at noon. Heading north in San Juan Channel, our first stop was at Yellow Island to check out a healthy number of Harbor Seals hauled out on the rocks.  Next stop, Green Point at Speiden Island, where more than a few mammoth Stellar Sea Lions dove and rolled on all sides of the boat. Several Harbor Porpoises surfaced long enough for a quick look as we passed Speiden, en route to Stuart Island. Bald Eagles were sighted, either soaring overhead, or posed in treetops. Easy cruising under clear skies and calm seas, but no whales.

After cruising around Stuart Island, we headed over to Canadian waters to check out the Cormorant rookery on Mandarte Island. Saw both Brandt’s and Pelagic Cormorants sitting on nests and a lone sentry Canada Goose on top of the rock. Hearing reports of Dalls Porpoises, we headed back into Haro Strait to catch a quick glimpse of one between Gooch Island and Turn Point, Stuart Island.  Cruising along the west side of Spieden Island gave us a good look at the monumental number of newborn baby Mouflon Sheep scattered all over the steep, grassy sides.  Another last look at the Stellar Sea Lions surfing in the currents off Green Point, then we turned for home. Although the whales eluded us today, it was a priceless day in the San Juan Archipelago — warm, sunny, spring-weather, a calm sea, and a plethora of Bald Eagles, Pinnipeds, Porpoises, and Pelagic birds.

Naturalists Shelly and Kathy

Resident Orcas today!

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

     Yesterday Transients Orcas, today Residents Orcas! Traveling all the way to Mouat Point off North Pender Island, Canada, we caught up with members of J and K pod. Although the Orcas kept us on the move, we paused long enough to see foraging, plenty of tail-slapping, a slow-motion spy-hop by Sekiu (K-22), and an excellent full-body breach! It was also a treat to clearly hear vocalizations on our hydrophone.

     A stop at Green Point on Speiden Island on the way home gave us a good look at a noisy group of Stellar Sea Lions all perched upright at the water’s edge. We began and ended the trip with sightings of adult Bald Eagles just inside the marina.

     Another spectacular day on the water. Despite starting off with a thrilling ocean-spray ride north (all slickers were in use), the skies cleared, the whales graced us with their presence, and we celebrated another spectacular day on the water on glassy seas and under sunny skies.


Transient Orcas On Opening Day Out!

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

     Exciting first day on the water! Not only were we rewarded with an unseasonably gorgeous, sunny day, but, after 1 ½ hours of getting to the whales (this is very unusual, usually we travel about 30 to 45 minutes), we caught up with approximately 7 Transients traveling in Swainson Channel, just off Salt Spring Island, and with Ganges Harbor in sight. Since transients tend to travel in very small groups, 3 – 5, our sighting today was exceptional.  Also exceptional was the fact that they continually surfaced, which gave us many good views.

     On the way back, a fantastic showing of Bald Eagles on Stuart Island, including one perched confidently on the red roof of the lighthouse.  Slow tour along Spieden Island ended with a mini-herd of Stellar Sea Lions (7-8) in a tight knit circle, right at Green Point, poised upright, noses in the air, seemingly frozen in place (& appearing to be worshiping the sun!).

Naturalists Lori, Shelly, and Colleen

June 30, 2011 Whale Watching Tour Photo Contest Entry “Pink Sea Snake”

Monday, July 4th, 2011

June 30 Pink Sea Snake by guest Erik Enstrom

June 30 Pink Sea Snake by guest Erik Enstrom


Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

What a beautiful day!  Our trip started out sunny and even a little bit warm.  We headed out of the harbor and up past Waldron toward East Point.  A passenger spotted a pair of bald eagles as soon as we were out of the slip and harbor seals were hauled out in full force along out trek up north.  Once we got to East Point we would see and hear a huge group of Stellar Sea Lions.  As we drew in closer we were treated to both Stellars and Harbor seals sharing the rock; although divided on their separate sides.

Finally we turned back into the wind and began a very blustery ride back toward the harbor.  Just as we were admiring the wildlife of  Speiden Island we heard talk of orca whales just outside of Friday Harbor.  We said adios to the deer and headed off in the direction of the rumored whales.  Just north of the harbor entrance we saw blows in the distance.  We could count three separate dorsal fins at the surface at the same time.

We cruised slowly alongside and slightly behind the pod of transients for about fifteen minutes.   They stayed fairly close to shore and kept a distance of several hundred yards,  but even from a distance we could see that there was a calf present.  The passengers were ecstatic.  So was I.  Finally, pressed for time, we were forced to make the turn back toward the harbor.  It was the perfect end to a gorgeous day.

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Today was one of the sunniest, most beautiful days we have had all month, just in time for the official start of our season.  The waters were calm as we headed out of the harbor toward Jones Island.  The seals seemed to be as appreciative of the sun as we were and literally covered every exposed rock we passed by.  Bald eagles were out in abundance and the passengers enjoyed seeing them both in flight as well as resting atop the trees.

We caught a quick glimpse of a shy harbor porpoise and then were treated to a great view of a half-dozen stellar sea lions hauled out on the rocks.  We cruised up around Stewart Island where the more heartier passengers braved the wind and caught a little spray.  Soon we tucked around the corner back into the lee of the islands where we saw more eagles, seals, and an abundance of cormorants and other sea birds.

The orcas managed to elude us today but the rest of the wildlife was fantastic.  All in all it was a great start to the season.  It was great to be back out on the water!

Laura, Naturalist

Orca Whales Vocalizations off San Juan Island Washington

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Click on this link to hear Orcas Vocalizing -The Hydrophone on the MV Sea Lion August 2010

and see part of the whale watching tour

Boeing Seattle Agrees to Retore Fish and Bird Habitat

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Boeing Seattle agrees to restore Duwamish fish, bird habitat.
Boeing Seattle will restore fish habitat along the Duwamish Waterway and pay $2 million to settle allegations that decades of airplane manufacturing helped pollute the waterway with oil and other toxic substances.

By Craig Welch

Seattle Times environment reporter

Boeing will restore fish habitat along the Duwamish Waterway and pay $2 million to settle allegations that decades of airplane manufacturing helped pollute the waterway with oil and other toxic substances.

The settlement was filed Tuesday in federal court in Seattle. Boeing agreed to undertake two habitat-restoration projects to benefit salmon and other fish and birds.

Boeing plans to create nearly five acres of wetlands, restore a half-mile of waterway and establish a holding area for young out-migrating salmon. It also will demolish several buildings that were partially constructed on pilings over the waterway during the 1930s and early 1940s.

“We’ll be taking the pilings out and restoring the bank,” said Blythe Jameson, a spokeswoman for Boeing.

The area near the South Park Bridge is known as Plant 2, and is the site where Boeing built many of the B-17 bombers used during World War II. But solvents, oils and other chemicals polluted the property and leached into groundwater that worked its way to the Duwamish.

Boeing is required to clean up the site but has been negotiating for years with the state, federal government and two Washington tribes over precisely how and when it will do so.

Kathy Fletcher, executive director of the conservation group People for Puget Sound, said the deal sounds good, but it depends entirely on details that weren’t available Tuesday.

“Boeing has been holding off on resolving these issues until they could tie the cleanup to absolving them of other liabilities,” Fletcher said.

The settlement resolves claims against Boeing by several parties, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Washington state Department of Ecology, the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Suquamish Tribe and the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe.

Boeing agreed to repay nearly $2 million in costs to those parties and to establish a permanent stewardship fund for the projects.

The company said cleanup and restoration activities are scheduled to begin in 2012, and will take several years to complete.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.