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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!