Are We Walking to Alaska

Are We Walking to Alaska
Are We Walking to Alaska - A True Story

Friday, June 19, 2015

Whale Watching Tour

Our son and daughter-in-law gave us the gift of a whale watching tour for our 50th anniversary - last September.  Since the weather was not spectacular and the days were getting shorter we decided to wait until June of this year to take the tour - when the weather was better and besides - June is one of the best months for spotting whales in the Salish Sea (the islands and channels from British Columbia down to the bottom of Puget Sound).
 The Salish Sea
Our tour boat - we sat on the back deck (far left in the photo).  Much better view than inside on the the cramped seats
Look at all the windows - the houses facing the marina.

We left at 1:30 out of Anacortes (1 hour drive from Bellingham) - with the recommended snack and water packed in our bag.  All the tours out of British Columbia had been cancelled that day so there were no boats up that way to let the captain of our boat know of any whales that had been sighted - so we headed down toward Puget Sound - 50 mph in the sunshine and fairly smooth seas.  There were 2 foot - then three foot and finally 5 foot swells.  The boat took the seas well - even at 50 mph.
Our route out of Anacortes - the most whales were spotted near the next to the last arrow at the bottom of the map.  The boat captain would shut off the engines and let the boat drift so we could all get lots of photos of the whales.  You can see Bellingham at the top right of the map.
 The people in this sailboat don't even seem to be aware that they are so near a whale.
 We saw other things besides whales - the ship on the left is a freighter - the other is the Washington State Ferry
Another freight barge had a large variety of items - big containers of freight, road graders, semi trucks and even a boat.  It was pulled by a huge tug boat.
 Freight from around the world
 And Coast Guard boats
And the State Ferries - back and forth across the channels  
 Sailboats and whale watching boats
 You could tell which side of the boat the whales were on - all the passengers rushed over to see the whales
 Rocky shores - and a random white boulder - wonder how it got there
 More sailboats and horses on a hillside
 Most of the whales just broke the water - not any jumping or breaching, but did what is called porpoising.  Porpoising is also known as running, which refers to the high speed surface behavior where long, low jumps are alternated with swimming close to the surface.
 The scenery was outstanding - bright water and forests on rocky shores
 And whales!!
 Waves splashing beside the boat
 Two horses on hillside
 The pod of Orcas that we saw was T146.  T is for a transient pod, 146 is the number given to the adult female in the pod - the transient pods eat mammals (seals, sea lions,porpoises and dolphins.  while the resident pods of Orcas eat only fish and squid, and this way they divide up the food available in different locations.

 The only time a whale came up out of the water - this is called sky hopping - they are looking around to see what is going on and then continue traveling.  I was the only one on the boat that got this shot.  Talk about lucky.

It was a fabulous trip - the weather was gorgeous and we saw a lot of whales. Thank you Rusty, Jamie and Donnie - we had a wonderful time!!


Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

What an awesome trip and you saaw and photographed so many of these wonderful animals. Love how you dove tailed a couple of the shots together in a wavy pattern adn also loved the collage. Have a lovely weekend.

Maggie said...

What a wonderful gift and fantastic photos. Lucky ( or more likely clever) you snapping that one above the water and what a photo! Great photos of all the other activity. I like the one of the front of the freight ship showing the swell of the water. Beautiful scenery. So jealous!

eileeninmd said...

Oh wow, I would love to see the Orcas. Your shots are awesome. I love the sky hopping shot. So glad you had a great day whale watching. Thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

Unknown said...

Awesome! I'd love to go on a whale safari one day.

Adam Jones said...

What an amazing thing to do. Brilliant to see the Orcas.

Latane Barton said...

My goodness gracious. What a trip! And, doubly special that it as a gift. You got some great pictures and had a great time. That can't be beat.

Pamela Gordon said...

Amazing photos of these beautiful creatures JoAnn. I've never been whale watching and there are several vendors in St. Andrews for them but we just never go. It's usually very cold out on the water so one has to be prepared with warm clothing, and I'm quite timid to be in a small boat out on the waves like that. Have a great weekend! said...

What an awesome trip! The scenery was positively beautiful!! I`ve never seen anyone post whales before, thanks for sharing! Phyllis

TexWisGirl said...

just beautiful creatures!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Absolutely fantastic shots joanne. You were so lucky! We went whale watching in the mouth of the St Lawrence once but only saw Minkes.

You ask why our wild roses are called 'dog roses' - the answer is that I don't really know. They are wild roses and it is just what they are called round here in Yorkshire.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What an amazing sight...all of those whales right there in front of you. Your trip was a huge success. I also love to see the boats and ships. What an adventure! Glad the weather was good too! Happy weekend sweet friend. Hugs, Diane

Anonymous said...

What a great trip. I can't imagine how exciting it would be to see all those whales. That is a great shot of jumping whale.

Marigene said...

What an amazing set of photos! I love the contrast of the shoreline against the sea and sky, so beautiful.
How could you tell that was T146? Is there some type of tag that is visible?
Have a great weekend, JoAnn.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. Something worth taking. We took the Whale watch. First boat was a disaster waves 10 feet high. No kidding. I thought we were going over board all of us. Everyone was ill. Except Sid and I.

Took a chance on another boating another town.

It was wonderful to see them. Glad Sid and I got brave and took another boat.

They jumped many,many up into the air. They were gigantic. I think some were called the Hump whales. We took video of them

Like your captures. Very impressive. Like how you showed the fins.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Gorgeous orcas! I have never gone whale watching. Should do so.

Rowan said...

It looks like a great trip - must admit that I'd be put off doing something similar as I'm a very poor sailor. I'd need to be guaranteed smooth seas before I'd venture out. The shot of the whale sky hopping is great, the rest of the people on the boat must have been very envious:)

A Colorful World said...

Oh, I am so jealous! Would LOVE to do that some time! What an amazing Anniversary present from your kids! It looks like you had a wonderful trip, and you sure got some great photos!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Congrats on a great trip and especially for getting that sky hopping shot!

Amy at love made my home said...

What a wonderful gift and experience!!!!!! It is so amazing to see your pictures of the whales, especially the one that popped right out, they are fantastic photos!!!! You must have been so very pleased and excited. Thank you so very much for showing these to us!!! xx

Lorrie said...

What a great trip you had! The waters around here are so interesting - not just whales, but all sorts of things to see and observe. Glad you got those great shots of the whales.

J said...

AMAZING! And I see that is a frequent word used by your other commenters! Such beautiful photos from a wonderful experience - I'm so glad you got a chance to go. I am not surprised you got the best shot of the whale - you always seem to be in the right place at the right time!

Kay said...

What a spectacular trip - and that "sky hopping" whale is amazing! What a wonderful anniversary gift! Lucky you.

We just spent a couple of days near the area where you were, on Marrowstone Island across from Port Townsend. We had beautiful views of the area where you sailed (no whales, though). We watched at least half a dozen ferries go back and forth between Pt. Townsend and Coupeville. It's such a gorgeous area.

The Furry Gnome said...

What wonderful shots!

Powell River Books said...

Even thought the swell sounded pretty large, it looks like you had a good day for whale watching. And you got to see quite a few. - Margy