Blog Archive for June 2011

June 30, 2011

Salmon buffet

Today we left the harbor and went up over Lopez and out into Rosario Straight.  We were nearly to Anacortes, just outside of Burrows Bay, when we saw a massive dorsal fin slice through the water.  There were a couple of smaller fins in the vicinity and as we drew closer there was a huge...Read more

June 29, 2011

Clouds and Whales and Rain and Sun

Our adventures today started off a little cool, cloudy and choppy as we traveled south towards Cattle Pass.  Along the way, we stopped for some harbor seals hauled out attempting to bask but then found others at the Pass being more efficient with their time (there was no sun for basking) hunting...Read more

June 28, 2011

Black Blades!

The gigantic dorsal fins of Blackberry (J-27) and Double Stuf (J-34) sliced through the flat water as we rounded Mouat Point of North Pender Island. The two males appeared to be feeding when they would pause from their northward travel pattern to circle one another as they powerfully taillob the...Read more

June 27, 2011

Are we in Canada? Or the US?

Today was a day of border crossing, and re-crossing, and crossing again.  In search of orcas rumored to be nearly out of reach, we headed north out of the harbor, eventually crossing the border into Canada at Boundary Pass.  Up around Saturna Island, we went into the Strait of Georgia where we...Read more

June 26, 2011

Playful Pod

The sun was shining and the waters were calm as we headed north in search of wildlife. Just as we left Friday Harbor, we spotted a harbor seal poking his head out of the water and slowed down to get a better look. We continued our journey enjoying the beautiful day and the sites of the...Read more

June 25, 2011

Lob tails and spy hops!

We were excited to depart Friday Harbor with sun, glass waters and a boat full of passengers who’ve never seen whales in the wild before. We headed north into Canadian waters where the orcas were last sited. After viewing harbor seals hauled out on the rocks, we continued into the Strait of...Read more

June 24, 2011

Rosario or bust

It started raining at exactly 1:00.  We slogged out of the harbor under a giant black cloud that seemed to cover only San Juan Island.  The farther away we got, the more sun we saw.  Finally, headed southeast over the top of Lopez Island and down the east side, we moved out from under the cloud...Read more

June 23, 2011

J-pod on the west side

On this beautiful, sunny Thursday afternoon we headed south out of Friday Harbor with news that the killers were hanging around the west side of San Juan Island. The passengers spirits were high as we headed out with the prospect of seeing all sorts of wildlife. As we made our journey west we...Read more

June 22, 2011

Rewarded for Going the Distance

Woooeeee, the whales made us work for it today!  Resident killer whales were reported at nearly the farthest point we can travel on our trips and they weren't coming our way south either.  We loaded up both boats and headed north right out of Friday Harbor with not a moment to spare to stop and...Read more

June 21, 2011

Picture Perfect Afternoon!

Heading south out of Friday Harbor we encountered a picture perfect afternoon today! The sun was out and the sky was clear enough to see Mt. Rainier over 120 miles away! As we headed further south towards Smith Island we encountered a pod of fast traveling orcas. This pod of killer whales (...Read more

June 20, 2011

Glorious Evening With Orcas

We departed Friday Harbor and headed north.  There was absolutely no wind and the water was like glass.  An incredible night for whale watching.  We caught up to J-pod around Monarch Head on Saturna island.  There were about six animals traveling very close to each other, and very close to shore...Read more

June 20, 2011

Bold oyster catchers harass the ultimate predatory bird

Northbound along the west side of San Juan Island, we encountered about eight orcas allegedly belonging to both J and K resident pods.  From the get go, we saw curious whale behavior of tail-slapping, a pec fin slap and eventually even a head stand with the white of the tail exposed!  As they...Read more

June 19, 2011

Orca DNA Swap Meet

Any time you're thinking about getting on a boat, check the sky and then cross your fingers.  Today we had intermittent sunshine over Friday Harbor and dark gray low-hanging clouds to the south.  And to the south we went... with fingers crossed that the clouds would continue out to sea and away...Read more

June 18, 2011

Rain no; Orcas yes!

We narrowly escaped the rain today; luckily, by trip departure time it was done raining in the San Juan Islands.  Overcast weather and threats of rain don't keep the whales away though and as we rounded Cattle Point and came up along the west side in some choppy waves, we were rewarded for our...Read more

June 17, 2011


Today we got spoiled: we had a choice between two transient killer whale pods!  The first group was called in as located off Sidney Island on the Canadian side of the Haro straight.  We left the harbor with these whales in mind but then we got another call; a second pod was seen between Saturna...Read more

June 16, 2011

Transients at Sucia

Today we left the harbor and headed north toward Sucia Island.  Once there we spotted a small pod of transients.  There were 3.  One female, one male, and one calf.  They were taking long dives with a few breaths at their surface intervals before they dove again.  They were  cruising along, with...Read more

June 15, 2011

Transients in the evening

My favorite trip of the year so far.

Flat, calm, no wind, beautiful lighting, and thanks to the hockey game we were the only boat sitting off of Sidney Island with a pod of 5 transient orcas.  There was one big male, one calf, one other juvenile and a couple of larger adults (at least one...Read more

June 15, 2011

Transients Galore

The M/V Sea lion departed Friday Harbor with reports of Transient Orcas coming from Thatcher Pass.  We motored past Yellow Island and stopped to check out some harbor seals hauled out on the rocks.  After that we headed towards Green Point on Spieden Island and noticed some blows on the north...Read more

June 14, 2011

Let the breaching begin!

We met the first of J-pod at South Beach and watched as they hauled north toward Eagle Point, with some porpoising at the fast pace. On our way back toward Friday Harbor the rest of the pod came into view as we approached Cattle Point. This lagging group was full of youngsters and moving in a...Read more

June 13, 2011

Are the whales watching us?

Word was whales were headed north... no, wait... south... no, wait... north!  A pod of indecisive orcas!  Yes, northbound for sure along the west side of San Juan Island.  So north we headed as the Sea Lion left the harbor on this sun shiny afternoon, hugging the eastern coastline.  Along the...Read more