San Juan Islands Orca Whale Watching In The News USA Today
Orca Whale Watching San Juan Island in the news: USA Today
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10 great places to discover a whale of a tale
Whale watching a billion-dollar
business annually may be the greatest show on Earth ...
er, water. This time of year, several species of the giant mammals
are just waiting to be ogled. USA TODAY's Laura Bly landed some
tips from Patricia Corrigan, author of The Whale Watcher's Guide:
Whale-Watching Trips in North America (NorthWord Press, $12.95),
on prime places to shout "Thar she blows!" now and
through the summer.
Surprised tourists reach out to touch the head of a mature gray
whale at San Ignacio Lagoon, Mexico.
Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico
John Steinbeck called the azure expanse
off Baja's east coast "the Galapagos of Mexico" with
good reason: It's home to nearly two dozen species of whales
and dolphins alone. Lindblad Expeditions, a 20-year veteran in
the region, offers "cruising among uninhabited islands and
close encounters with gray whales" across the Baja peninsula
in Magdalena Bay. 800-397-3348.
Dana Point, Calif.
About 20,000 gray whales hug the California
coast every winter and spring, migrating between the icy seas
of Alaska and their breeding grounds in Mexico's sheltered lagoons.
One of the best (and warmest) spots to take in the show is at
Dana Point's annual Festival of Whales, which includes special
events in February and March. 949-496-5794.
Monterey Bay, Calif.
Heidi Tiura and Steph Dutton, "the
fearless whale conservationists featured in Dick Russell's terrific
book Eye of the Whale," run day trips on a 65-foot catamaran
called Princess of Whales. Gray whales will be center stage when
Russell comes aboard Jan. 19 and 20, but the bay hosts a rich
variety of marine life year-round. 831-643-0128.
San Ignacio Lagoon, Baja California,
"Those photos of exhilarated
people petting gray whales one of the peak wildlife encounters
ever all were taken here on the west coast of Baja, where
gray whales mate and give birth from January to March every year."
Whale watchers stay in an environmentally conscious camp, heading
out twice a day in small boats. 800-829-2252.
Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
Hundreds of white beluga whales, also
known as the canaries of the sea, "chirp and squeal in the
Churchill River and Hudson Bay from the end of June through August."
Whale watchers can listen in on the animals' diverse vocalizations
with hydrophones during trips that last from two to four hours.
Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary,
"No swimming or petting is allowed
here, but acrobatic humpback whales are famous for breaching
near tour boats from April through September." Fin and minke
whales also feed in the area, and naturalists from the New England
Aquarium accompany the four-hour boat trips. 617-973-5281.
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
Once the whaling capital of the Pacific,
Lahaina now is the center of a booming whale-watch industry,
"especially from December through mid-March when humpbacks
(the singing whales with the 15-foot flippers) frolic in the
warm waters among the islands." Two-hour whale-watch cruises
are scheduled several times a day. 800-942-5311.
The Dominican Republic
In March, about 6,000 migrating humpback
whales converge to frolic on Silver Bank, about 70 miles offshore
from the Dominican Republic. "During an eight-day trip aboard
an expedition boat, opportunities sometimes arise for passengers
to swim with these gentle giants, and participants report breathtaking
experiences that range from a few minutes up to two hours."
Mingan Islands, Quebec
"Blue whales, the largest animals
ever to live on earth, can be hard to find unless you
know where to look. A good bet is a six-hour day trip or seven-day
research expedition in August or September on the Saint Lawrence
Seaway, where scientists have identified more than 400 individual
blue whales." 418-949-2845.
Orcas, the top predators of the sea, patrol the west
side of San Juan Island from late April through September. "Small
groups of whale watchers, led by a naturalist, can board a tour
boat or set off in kayaks to look for orcas, minke whales and
assorted porpoises, and participants report a 90% success rate."
Ruffles- famous orca whale for his large wavy dorsal fin
Breaching Orca - photo contest winner Ernie Westle of Canada,
taken near San Juan Island
Our whale watching boat MV Sea Lion-
55 foot, new and fast with walk around deck and bathroom
2007 Orca Photo Contest Winner David Erlich
Orca Breaching by Dennis Anderson
2008 Photo contest winner
I took my high school biology class out with you a couple of weeks ago
and had a fantastic time. The kids couldn't say enough about the
trip--the boat, the naturalists, and mostly the whales were really
great. Thanks! I wasn't sure where to send photos for your contest
(this is the only email that I found on the web site) so I've attached
them here. I had never seen breaching before (this is probably my
sixth or seventh trip), so when they did it over and over, I was
amazed. I hope it's OK to send fairly large photos. If you want the
whole series, I have six or seven in a row of a couple of different
Here are the photos, and thanks again for a great trip. We'll
definitely use you guys again!
Families and Whale Watching - a perfect outing
Patty Quales and her husband sent this in for the 2010 Photo Contest
. They are the winners for 'wildlife'.
This was taken on the southern end of San Juan Island of Stellar Sea Lions hauled out.
Note the lighthouse in the background.
Janet Holba 2010 photo contest winner in the whale category
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