Blog Archive for July 2011

July 31, 2011

Gray skys turned into an exceptional day

I was a little worried waking up this morning to overcast skies, but just before leaving on today’s adventure the clouds started to part and the sun shined through. Our luck continued as we circumnavigated San Juan Island. There were tons of harbor seals with little pups in the water and hauled...Read more

July 30, 2011

Sleep With One Eye Open

A group of killer whales that were hugging the coastline came into sight as we rounded the southwestern end of Henry Island. Cappuccino (K-21), one of the mature males of K pod, was spotted with his open saddle patch. Within the first ten minutes two mature orcas spyhopped, bringing half of...Read more

July 29, 2011

Kitchen sink?

Today was one of those amazing, beautiful, sunny, "warm" (ha, not really), incredible wildlife days.  There were seals, eagles, eaglets, steller's sea lions, and of course orcas.  We found whales right around false bay and they were milling, hunting, and doing other things that whales like to do...Read more

July 28, 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...Read more

July 27, 2011

Couldn't Dream of a Better Day!

Today was one of those rare perfect days to be a wildlife watcher. The sun was shining and the water glassy as we made our way south from Friday Harbor. Our first stop was at whale rocks where there were the most wildlife species I’ve ever seen at one time. There were cormorants, gulls, harbor...Read more

July 26, 2011

An orca game of pass-the-kelp

Right out the gates, we headed south and just before Cattle Pass we encountered a harbor seal munching on a salmon it had just caught!  At first, two gulls were interested in the seal's catch but each time it surfaced, another gull and then another and then another came on until there were ten...Read more

July 25, 2011

Angry ocean/happy whales

What can I say about today...?  The whales made us work for it.  We headed around the calm, serene north side of the island and turned the corner south down the west side.  We had heard that there were whales moving north in the vicinity of Lime Kiln but by the time we got there there was...Read more

July 24, 2011

Sneaky Minke

Today we had a wonderful encounter with my old friend, the Minke whale.  We left the harbor and headed south.  Just before Cattle Point we noticed lots of splashing.  We moved toward the disturbance and saw two harbor seals acting very peculiarly.  One seal would lay, flat out, on the...Read more

July 23, 2011

Harbor whales?

Today was awesome.  Call it luck, call it karma, call it retribution for the past few days of driving to Vancouver...whatever the case, I have never seen whales actually pull into the harbor.  When we found the group of J's they were just north of the harbor.  They were cruising slowly south. I...Read more

July 22, 2011

Milling with Killer Whales

We headed north out of Friday Harbor this afternoon in search of any and all wildlife that lives in or around the Salish Sea. Our first encounter came when we slowed and went across Spieden Island where there was wildlife from the shore line to the sky. First we noticed harbor seals that were...Read more

July 22, 2011

Official Entry into the Whale Watching Photo Contest

I just wanted to thank you again for the great time my buddies and I had on your tours a couple weeks back. Our tour guide was  from our home town (a suburb of Chicago) which made the experience that much more enjoyable. I knew I got some cool pictures from the adventure, but was even more...Read more

July 20, 2011

Crazy baby K

Every morning I come in to work, nervous about what the day may hold, but also excited about the prospect of seeing whales.  There is a lot of pressure on us as naturalists, captains, and crew to find the whales and keep the passengers happy, which is why we get so very excited when we hear two...Read more

July 19, 2011

Wildlife Bonanza at Swanson Channel

Some days we just know we have to go the distance to find the wildlife.  But the general rule of thumb is: it's so worth it!

Today, we cruised out of sunny Friday Harbor with both boats--Sea Lion and Kittiwake--full of eager wildlife seekers.  As we pleasantly made our way north through...Read more

July 18, 2011

Newest Addition to Southern Resident Community

We started seeing the dorsal fins of K pod after exiting the Speiden Channel and spotted Deadhead (K-27) with her new son (K-44). The boy is her first offspring and he will remain unnamed until after he has survived a winter and is officially considered part of the pod. Researchers do this...Read more

July 18, 2011

Herb Rides Again

Herb has been out with San Juan Safaris for years now and on so many trips that he is an "honorary staffer". Along with knowing a lot about whales, and I am talking Hawaii to Massacusetts, he has a great eye. He has been very generous this year and in the past sharing all his photos. Here are...Read more

July 16, 2011

Dreary Days Don't Keep the Wildlife Away

Sky and sea blended together as we left Friday Harbor this afternoon. It was overcast and a bit foggy, but spirits were high in the hopes of finding killer whales. We headed south, and as we turned around Cattle Point it started to clear up, giving us good visibility. As soon as we reached False...Read more

July 15, 2011

Js Ks and Ls

We headed out of Friday Harbor with some very fun and excited passengers.  Our first stop was right around the corner with some harbor seals hauled out on the rocks and we even saw a tiny little pup trying to climb on its moms back while swimming in the current.  We continued on through Cattle...Read more

July 14, 2011

An Abundance of Wildlife!

We headed south out of Friday Harbor this afternoon with word that there were killer whales around False Bay. On our way to the west side, we spotted a few harbor porpoises in the distance and some harbor seals poking their heads out of the water. Once at False Bay we caught a glimpse of three...Read more