Category Archives: Blog

New Evening Whale Watching Tour Added This Summer

This summer we have added a new whale watching tour that will go out Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during July and August. It’s a great chance to see the islands when summer weather is at it’s peek, while having a great chance of seeing whales and other wildlife. The evening is capped with a delicious, freshly prepared lasagna and Caesar salad dinner.

Departing at 4 pm from the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, we’ll cruise into the San Juan Islands, using information from our whale spotting network to find the best locations for viewing whales that evening. You’ll enjoy great views from the outdoor upper deck and along the bow of the boat, enjoying informative and entertaining narration from our captain.

The Salish Sea has ample indoor and outdoor seating, a bar with beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase, and a restroom.

Photos From August 27th Bird Watching Cruise

We had a great bird watching cruise this past weekend, a trip that took us through the middle of the San Juans, then north to Sucia and Patos Islands. We saw a nice variety of birds, with seals, sea lions and a Humpback whale as well. Thanks to Jim Bachman for his incredible photos from the day!

Bird Blog – Smith Island Puffins – July 30, 2016

 

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We had a beautiful sunny day for special bird trip to go see the elusive Tufted Puffins of the San Juan Islands.There is only one nesting colony left in the San Juan Archipelago, although there use to be several.   Remote Smith Island, several miles south of San Juan Island has an ever increasing population of tufted puffins. Tufted Puffins are long lived birds: up to 25 years, and they return to the same spot to nest year after year. The monogamous pair raise one chick together. Once that chick has fledged, their job is done. They might linger for awhile while the food supply lasts. They eat small fish. Then they take flight and head out to the open ocean, sometimes 100s of miles offshore.

We had lunch at Smith Island (on the boat) and observed 30+ Tufted Puffins. We also spotted a Long Tail Jaeger, which was a first for many people, and an Ancient Murrelet.  Ancient Murrelets are here in the late fall and winter, but not widespread.

Stopping at Bird Rocks, a National Wildlife Refuge, we saw many Brandt Cormorants, black turnstones and surfbirds.  A last stop at Chuckanut Rocks revealed a flock of Harlequin Ducks, and Surf Scoters.

Birds Seen:

Canada Goose

Mallard

Harlequin Duck

Surf Scoter

Bufflehead

Common Goldeneye

Brandt’s Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant

Pelagic

Cormorant

Great Blue Heron

Green Heron

Turkey Vulture

Osprey

Bald Eagle

Red Tail Hawk

Black Oystercatcher

Black Turnstone

Surfbird

Red-Necked Phalarope

Parasitic Jaeger

Long Tailed  Jaeger

Bonaparte’s Gull

Heerman’s Gull

California Gull

Glaucous Winged Gull

Common Murre

Pigeon Guillemot

Marbled Murrelet

Ancient Murrelet

Rhinoceros  auklet

Tufted Puffin 30+

Rock Pigeon

Belted Kingfisher

American/Northwest Crow

Violet’green Swallow

 

Whales & Wildlife Report – Orcas, Humpbacks & Minkes! 7-24-16

It’s been a great week of whale watching, with lots of whales seen, and we finally have great summer weather, with sun and temperatures in the low 80’s. A perfect time to be out in the San Juans! This week we’ve seen a great variety of whales, resident and transient Orcas, playful Minke whales, and today a group of very active Humpbacks. While we didn’t see them ourselves, there were even reports of a Fin whale and some Gray whales in the area recently. The photo below was taken by out of our passengers this week (Mary Lou – Nooksack, WA) – thank you for sharing this great photo!

orca

Whales & Wildlife Report: Whale Watching Season In Full Swing With Lots Of Great Sightings In July

It’s been a spectacular season so far, with lots of great Orca and Humpback whale sightings, with several days that we’ve had multiple sightings. Summer weather has finally arrived as well, so now is really a great time to go out to the islands on a whale watching cruise. Our deluxe and half-day whale watching tours are available, with reservations recommended – you can call 1-800-443-4552 or book online.

Whales & Wildlife Report: Spectacular Whale Watching – Orcas, Humpbacks & Minkes – June 18th, 2016

Chinook whale watch 381

Despite the early morning rain (which let up halfway through the day), it was a spectacular day in the San Juans for whale watching. Our first half day whale watching tour aboard the Chinook was successful in finding a group of Southern Resident Orca whales near Vancouver Island, and our deluxe whale watching tour found Humpback and Minke whales.

 

Whales & Wildlife Report: J-Pod Orcas Seen On Whale Watch & Crab Cruise – June 10th, 2016

We had a great day on Friday, having a great time watching members of J-pod (one of the three resident pods of Orca whales) during our whale watching tour, then again in the evening on our cracked crab dinner cruise. We had the bonus of seeing some of the younger members of the pod breaching repeatedly – what an experience! Today (Saturday) we are on our way to the islands with reports of a Humpback or two just outside of Friday Harbor. If you are looking to see whales this year, now’s the perfect time to go.

Whales & Wildlife Report: Resident & Transient Orcas + Humpbacks!

The season is off to a great start, with lots of sunshine, warm temperatures and great whale sightings. While the season got off to a slow start in early-to-mid May, it’s been excellent the past few weeks, with frequent sightings of transient Orca whales, Humpbacks, and now the resident Orcas (J, K and L pods) are back in the area. Our Deluxe Whale Watching Adventure Cruises are going every day, through the end of September, and we’re just about ready to start a new Half Day Whale Watching Tour on weekends aboard our newest vessel, the Chinook. It’s going to be a fun season – hope you can make it out on the water with us!