In late April we were excited about our upcoming visit from our Son Luke and Tammy let me know that the only other thing she wanted for her birthday was to see whales and it was up to me to figure out how to make that happen. You don’t come to the Pacific Northwest without hoping to catch a glimpse of the mighty Orca (Killer Whale). So far on Fidalgo Island we had hiked along the shore at Deception Pass and we had looked out at the Salish Sea from the vantage point of Mt. Erie, always keeping a vigilant eye out for blows and splashes. Logically we knew that whale sightings would be more likely by taking one of the local whale watching tours. We ended up choosing Island Adventures out of Anacortes and boy are we glad we did.
For about a hundred dollars a-piece we booked a four hour tour across the Rosario Straight to the more shallow waters around the San Juan Island Chain. The “Island Explorer 5” was a fast and steady catamaran with a warm up room, hot and cold drinks served, and three decks that made it possible for everyone to have a front row seat. The Captain had a crew of two or three skippers who doubled as deck hands, snack and drink bar servers, whale spotters and naturalist guides.
The whole experience was awesome and by the time we returned to Anacortes Tammy’s Birthday wish was fulfilled. We had seen eight Biggs (Transient) Orcas in two pods (families), one giant Gray Whale and a bunch of Steller Sea Lions. By law boats are prohibited from approaching Orcas any closer than 100 yards which is close enough to really see these magnificent creatures in action and even hear the sound of their blows. It did get a little tense as the Orcas approached a small offshore rock loaded with Sea Lions. But they ended up moving on without stopping for lunch.