Monday, November 7, 2011

Whale Watching

Towards the end of August, while our grandson was staying with us, we went whale-watching, something we had not done before, but will certainly do again.  We sailed from Anacortes and were on the water from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, a very long day, but very worthwhile.  We sailed with Mystic Sea Charters and were very pleased with the relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the trip.

The reports were that the Orcas, the most popular whales in Puget Sound had headed out to sea but that there were several humpbacks in the area, though far out in the sound.  The trip to see them was quite long, but there was plenty to see as we made our way through the San Juan Islands and out to a more open area between Vancouver Island and the Olympic Peninsula.

When we arrived at the area where the humpbacks had been reported we found not only a pair of them but a number of other boats following them and we stayed with them for about an hour, watching them dive and surface about every 10-15 minutes.  The boat's captain said that this was quite unusual - that usually it was 30 minutes or more between dives.

On the way back we saw some Minke whales but there was really nothing to photograph, nor was there much point in trying to photograph the porpoises that followed the boats through the islands.  The captain did, however, stop at Mermaid Rock to give us opportunity to see and photograph the sea lions there.  They and the cormorants made quite and impressive display.

The captain also allowed our grandson, the only child on the boat to sit in the captain's seat and drive the boat.  This was, for him, a bigger thing than seeing the whales.  One of the crew also took him down into the engine room for an engine check, after giving him a pair of ear muffs to wear down in the hold.  I am sure it was a day that he will not quickly forget - certainly it was for us.


  1. I actually spotted migrating whales this past Thanksgiving weekend but it was off shore with binoculars.

    We were standing on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the Pacific Palisades, California when suddenly we spotted what looked like a bunch of black objects bobbing in and out of the water and they were systematically moving southward.

    My friend took out the binoculars he perpetually carries and shouted, “Whales.” We all clamored to take a peak and sure enough, we were witnessing their migration to Mexican shores.

    Your whale watching trip probably gave you that feeling of being up close and personal with these magnificent creatures. We, of course, did not have that but were excited nonetheless.

  2. We occasionally see them from shore as well, but being in a boat is much nicer, though they have laws now about how close the boats may come. Pretty awesome, though, seeing these massive creature.


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