Posts Tagged ‘whale watching near seattle’

L-pod basking in the sunshine…

Friday, August 31st, 2012

We had a fabulous trip to the south side of San Juan Island today.  Sunny skies and calm waters in the Strait of Juan de Fuca made for incredible whale watching!  After seeing several harbor seals cruising through Cattle Pass, we encountered the Steller sea lions on Whale Rocks.  At least ten were lounging in the sun.  As we headed into the strait, we saw several members of the resident L-pod actively feeding offshore of South Beach (48°26N, 123°00W).  First we saw members of the L12 matriline, including L41 “Mega”.  He was switching directions and slowly coming to the surface.  At one point he rolled on his back and slapped the water with his pectoral fins and tail.  It looked like he was doing the backstroke!  We also saw L94 “Calypso” with her calf L113 “Molly”.  “Molly” was very active, splashing, rolling, tail-slapping.  L77 “Matia” was also spotted with her calf L119 born earlier in 2012.  After observing these special mammals, we headed back to Friday Harbor.  So thankful for another day to see these orcas in the wild.

SJS Naturalist Jenny

What a day on the water!!

Monday, August 27th, 2012

The weather was perfect: high around 70 degrees, clear blue sky, and very light breeze.  The only thing that could make it better would be a day with the Orcas.  Did you order up Orcas?


Yes, a large order, please!


Coming right up.


We ran north – through beautifully calm water, enjoying the spectacular scenery.  Mount Baker was a clear and crisp as I’ve ever seen it.  Along the way, we saw harbor porpoise, common murre, pigeon guillemot, and harbor seals swimming about.

As we got nearer to our destination, members of J & K Pods showed themselves.  Plenty of porpoising, a breach, a spy hop, another breach – lots of activity.  We identified K-25 (Scoter), K-27 (Deadhead), J-27 (Blackberry), and a host of other gorgeous Orcas.  The boat rang out with ohhhhs and aahhhhhs, as the animals were all around us!

We had to “go the extra mile” today, because that’s where the action was.  It’s what we do.  48 47.91N,  122 46.7436W.  Lots of happy guests aboard!

Happy Whale Watching to You!

Captain Jim (Captain, Naturalist, all ’round fun guy)


Enter to Win – Win by Having Tons of Fun Seattle to San Juan

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Orca Whale Photos off San Juan Island Washington

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Herb Hartman, photographer, has gone out whale watching with us so many times that he is considered an honorary staff member.
Here are photos from his two tours, one at 1:30 and one at 5:30 from August 13, 2012.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Fantastic wildlife viewing today! Caught up with Southern Resident Killer Whales off East Point, Saturna Island, BC (48°27.25N, 123°02.35W). Viewed a large group of tightly packed members of J Pod, with J-37 (Hy’Shqa) and new baby tucked in between, moving westerly off Saturna Island at a slow pace. Lots of tail slapping, lob tailing, breaching, spy-hopping. Saw Bald Eagles in the trees and sitting on the rocks off Cactus Island. Guests witnessed a breathtaking dive bomb to the water by an eagle, who successfully emerged with a fish, then landed on a rock and started eating. Excellent wildlife viewing, warm weather, and mellow seas made for another amazing day on the Salish Sea.

Shelly, Tara, and Jenny, Naturalist for San Juan Safaris

Monday, August 06, 2012

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Exciting day on the water! Leaving the harbor under rainy skies, we traveled north around San Juan Island. Happily, the skies dried and the sun soon came out just as we caught up with members of the Southern Resident Killer Whales in Haro Strait. Traveling along the west side of Stuart Island and milling in the Turn Point area (first sighted at 48°40.67N 123°14.92W) were: Onyx (L87), along with Slick (J-16) and her calf, Echo (J-42), Mike (J-26) and Alki (J-36). Our next sighting include Granny (J-2) along with Tsuchi (J-31), and Mako (J-39). The orcas were active and didn’t seem to be in any hurry to leave the area. Plenty of shots of tails waving, pectoral fin slaps and the occasional spy hop. On the way back, we heard a rumor that there might be a new calf in J Pod?

Shelly and Tara, Naturalists for San Juan Safaris


We Whale Watch in the evening too!

Friday, July 20th, 2012

On last night’s sunset cruise we caught up with two groups of about 20+ Southern Resident Killer Whales headed south in Rosario Strait between Cypress and Blakely Island (48°34.46N, 123°46.05W). They hadn’t gone far since the greeting ceremony earlier that day, but you could tell the excitement had worn on them. They appeared to be resting, moving at a steady pace in unison, only coming up for 3-5 breaths before taking long dives.

From what we had identified, it was members of L-pod including Onyx (L87), Gaia (L78), and Crewser (L92). We watched them rest for a while, but they must have sensed our curiosity because eventually they spruced up, spyhopping, swimming on their sides, waving their pectoral fins, and lobtailling.

The setting couldn’t have been more perfect to embrace these animals. With Mt. Baker glowing in the background, the sun setting, and only 2 other boats around, it really felt like it was just us and them.

Naturalist Tara, San Juan Safaris

Guest Mark Smolenski Sent Whale Photos from July 9, 2012 – photo contest

Saturday, July 14th, 2012


Many thanks to Mark for sending in these

absolutely wonderful Orca Whale and Bald Eagle photos.

Saturday July 31, 2012 is Crazy Hat Day with San Juan Safaris Whale Watching!

Saturday, July 7th, 2012
1:30 and 5:30 WEAR YOUR CRAZY HAT

Prize: $38 plush 3 foot long Orca Whale

4th of July in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, Washington State

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012