We are definitely in the midst of prime whale watching season, with great sightings over the past two weeks. We’ve primarily spotted Transient / Bigg’s Orca whales, as well as Humpback and Minke whales. Combined with beautiful, sunny weather it’s been quite a summer, but it’s not over yet. We’re running for a few more weeks, through September 24th, so now is a great time to avoid the crowds and come aboard for a memorable whale watching experience.
The photos here are courtesy of Jim Bachman, who joined us on our Deluxe Whale Watching tour on Sunday, September 3rd – in addition to great viewing of Transient Orcas, we also saw seals and a wide variety of sea birds.
Yesterday was a great day – we saw whales on all 5 of our cruises, including our Deluxe and Express whale watching tours, the Sucia Island picnic cruise, the evening crab dinner cruise and a private charter. It was a group of transient Orcas (T65A’s) out in the northern San Juans. While our success rate is close to 95% on our whale watching tours for the season it was a rare treat to be able to see them on our other tours as well.
One of our naturalists, Victoria Souze, recently wrote an article about the transient/Bigg’s Orca whales for the Bellingham Herald – check it out at: https://goo.gl/w7tFXD
It’s been an amazing, and interesting whale watching season so far. Our success rate for seeing whales on our whale watching tours has never been better – since we started in early May we have seen whales on nearly 98% of our tours. While we have occasionally seen the resident pods of orca whales, most of our sightings have been of transient orcas and humpback whales. Unlike resident orcas, which primarily feed on salmon, transient orca whales feed on larger prey such as harbor seals. The large population of harbor seals in the San Juan Islands has resulted in more transient orcas being “less transient” this summer.
Sightings have been equally good on all three of our whale watching tours – our Deluxe, Express and Evening tours. If you would like to see whales in their natural habitat, with the stunning scenery of the San Juan Islands, now is the perfect time to sign up for a tour!
Today we were fortunate to have an amazing morning with a group of transient orca whales (T65A’s) only 20 minutes after leaving the dock. We were the first vessel with them, meeting up with them in the waters between Lummi and Eliza Islands. There were 5 adults and a baby – all were quite playful for a while (especially the baby), with tail slaps, flips and a spy hop. After a bit they pointed north and at about 4 kts, went up Hales passage. Combined with beautiful blue sky and plentiful sunshine, it was an incredible start to the day!
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!
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.
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.
What an amazing season this was – the weather was close to perfect with lots of warm sunshine, but this was topped by the number of whale sightings. With the season over we saw whales on just over 95% of our cruises, and there was a great variety of whales to be seen as well. In addition to the three resident pods of Orca whales (J, K and L pods), we saw lots of transient Orcas, Minke whales, Humpback whales (especially in May and September), Gray whales and towards the end of the season we even saw a Fin whale a few times.
This season also saw the resident group grow by 5 – 4 of these babies just received names (Scarlet, Nova, Sonic and Windsong) and a fifth (L-122) was just born a few weeks ago and will be given a name soon.
Thanks to everyone who joined us on a tour this season – we’re already at work getting ready for next summer!
It has been an amazing summer filled with great weather and lots and lots of whale sightings. The majority of the time we’ve been seeing the three resident pods of Orca whales (J, K and L pods), with occasional transient Orca and Humpback whale sightings. Add absolutely amazing weather, with lots of sunshine and warm temperatures, and it’s been one of the best seasons in recent years. It’s not over yet though – we still have over a month of tours left. More information can be found at: https://www.whales.com/Cruises/San-Juan-Adventure-Full-Day-Cruise.aspx