A huge thank you to San Juan Excursions for providing us with whale watching in the San Juan Islands. Seeing Orca Whales was one of the highlights of our weekend adventure to the San Juan Islands.
Growing up I wanted to be a marine biologist and was a bit obsessed with Orca Whales. My parents bought me a Orca Whale stuffed animal that I named Orcy and still have today. This stuffed animal was the start of my love affair with whales and marine life. During our weekend adventure to the San Juan Islands John and I had the chance to go on a whale watching tour with San Juan Excursions. The tour left from the heart of Friday Harbor.
We boarded the Odyssey and were greeted by Captain Pete. We were so excited to hear that a pod of Transient Orcas had been spotted and we were heading in their direction. While we cruised towards the Orcas the naturalists on board educated us about the Orcas, the area around us and what we would hopefully see when we arrived. We learned that Transient Orcas are different from the resident Orcas. They feed on seals and other mammals versus the salmon the resident Orcas feed on.
The hour or so boat ride to the area the Orcas were in was beautiful. We cruised around San Juan Island seeing many of the sites we had seen the day before from the water. We were able to see American Camp, the Lime Kiln Lighthouse and other amazing sites around San Juan Island.
Now for what you really want to see….the Orca Whales!
This is the male Orca from the pod. It is hard to believe his dorsal fin stands over 6 feet tall. That is as tall as John standing on his back.
The Orca Whales were amazing to watch. They are a tight nit family that stick together and help each other. It was great seeing the baby Orcas.
At one point one of the baby Orcas put on quite a show for us. This is the first time I have seen an Orca Whale breach and it was amazing.
The baby Orca also did a few tale slaps to let us know that it was there and having fun.
I love this picture of the Orca just coming out of the water for a breath. It was truly awesome watching the Orcas and seeing them in their wild habitat. We spent close to an hour watching them before we had to head back to Friday Harbor.
During the boat ride we had the opportunity to see Harbor Seals out on the rocks sunning themselves. The naturalists told us that the Harbor Seals have adapted to hiding in areas that the Orcas can not echo locate them. They will hide in rocks and crevices under water to stay safe. Depending on the time of year you can also see California and Steller Sea Lions, Dall’s and Harbor Porpoises, Gray and Minke Whales, and Humpback whales.
We know you work hard for your vacation dollars and for this reason we will offer you another trip for free if you do not see orcas on the day of your trip. The chances of seeing the orcas is very high during May through September, but since the whales are wild and can swim over one hundred miles per day, occasionally they move out of our cruising area. In those rare cases, we will give you a free pass to come again. This free pass or rain check has no expiration date and can be used the next day or five years from now.
We thoroughly enjoyed our whale watching excursion with San Juan Excursions. The staff was amazing and made sure that all of our questions were answered. It was so much fun seeing the Orca Whales and learning more about them.
We were provided with our whale watching excursion. All opinions expressed are our own.