A Whale of a Day

Orca Whale | Stuart Island | 2018
Orca Whale | Stuart Island | 2018

Sunday morning I headed out to Fidalgo Island to do some whale watching out of Anacortes. Although I did not have to wait to get on the boat to sea any first whales. While doing a little hike to Porpoise Point near Rosario beach in the morning, I spotted some….Porpoises playing below me in the water while I did a picknick on the cliffs. The whale watch tour starting at 4pm in the afternoon was a four and a half hour trip on a larger boat. Obviously, nothing ever is promised when viewing wildlife (I learned this during many hours driving through the African bush without seeing as much as a hair of an animal). But I have to say, it turned out to be a whale of a day. See a few photos after the jump…

Orca Whale
Orca Whale | Stuart Island | 2018

The first ninety minutes we did not spot much of any wildlife indeed (apart from some bald eagles sitting in the trees along the channels), but the boat ride through the inward islands north of Seattle (Shaw Island, Orcas Island, San Juan Island) on a sunny cloudless day is worth the trip by itself. I was glad I brought a sweater and a thick soft shell jacket, because on a boat doing 25 knots it was quite chilly indeed, despite being T-Shirt weather on the shore.

Orca Whale | Haro Strait | 2018
Orca Whale | Haro Strait | 2018

Wildlife-wise, things changed for the better once we reached Stuart Island and the Haro Strait between the Inward Islands and Vancouver Island, already scraping the Canadian border. I finally got to see my first Orca whales out in their natural habitat, always something very high on my bucket list. I do have to admit that the 12-100mm F/4 I had on my E-M1 is not at all a lens to go wildlife shooting, but I didn’t bring my longer lenses on this business trip just for this weekend trip, so it had to do.

Orca Whale | Haro Strait | 2018
Orca Whale | Haro Strait | 2018

We saw two different pods of Orcas, and then got even more lucky when two Humpback whales passed us going up the Haro Strait. Here we also got a good firsthand look at how shipping interferes with the natural routes of the whales.

Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale | Haro Strait | 2018

The whale watching boats did stay away from the Blackfish and the Humpbacks, so mostly they where quite some distance away from us exited viewers. And none of the whales attempted breaching the water, so no chance at getting any of those spectacular wildlife shots. But I was totally happy with my experience and feel blessed to have seen these majestic animals in their natural habitat. Seeing it with my own eyes was much better then any of the photographs I managed to take.

Mount Baker | Anacortes | 2018
Mount Baker | Anacortes | 2018

On our way back to Anacortes we were treated with some magnificent views of Mount Baker, another of those majestic stratovolcanoes of the Cascade range.

I will get to answering comments and catching up with other people’s blogs when back in PDX.

Wish you a great start into your week!


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25 thoughts on “A Whale of a Day

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  1. A couple of years ago we took the ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor and went kayaking with the Orcas. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. We probably saw 50 of them and they were breaching, spy hopping and swimming so close. Perhaps we saw the same pods. Your photos are wonderful.

    1. Wow, what a true adventure you had back then. I was thinking of doing the Kayak trip, but after watching some Youtube videos I thought I play it safe…maybe another day….but it was still breathtaking. Thanks for your kind words! Marcus

  2. I love whales and am looking forward their return to the seas near where I live in southern Australia. I loved your photos. Whales are so hard to photograph.

    1. They are indeed! It must be great to having them regularly at the doorstep. I had to argue with myself whether to try to get a good capture or watch with my own eyes instead of through the viewfinder. I will do it again in the summer when I bring my family over. Thanks for commenting, Suzanne! Marcus

      1. We have a bay on the outskirts of town where Southern Right Whales come to give birth and raise their young. They don’t come every year. Last year we had seven mums and their babies – something of a record. They usually start arriving in June so it will interesting to see how many come this year. They are protected so you can’t go out on boats to see. Instead people stand at the lookout with cameras with massive lens. I don’t have such fabulous photographic equipment so mostly I just watch the whales. They are such incredible animals.

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