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Jam packed wildlife day!

The August sunshine is amazing and we couldn’t have asked for a more jam packed wildlife day on the water today! As we headed north in San Juan Channel towards Spieden Channel and on to Haro Strait, the water was clear and the decks full. The novelty that are the Mouflan Sheep of Spieden Island was our first sighting of the day, along with some European fallow deer that call the island home as well.

As we got on the scene, J-pod was fairly spread out, but not for long. A big trip for us today, and J-pod didn’t let us down! We met up with the orcas, whose playful behavior was exceptional and breathtaking. J34, J22, and J32 kept us entertained with some high speed porpoising, while other members kept us alight with awe as we watched breaches, spyhops, and more. We even saw Granny, J2, who is 101 years old this year! On the way back in we spotted several bald eagles and harbor porpoise.

Another great day on the water!

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Js & Ks off Eagle Point

Despite some unusual July rainfall, we had a wonderful wildlife trip! On our way south toward Cattle Pass and on to Eagle Point we sighted a handful of Minke whales near Salmon Bank. As we reached the orcas, members of J and K pods were exceptionally social and playful, making for some excellent memories and photos. We dropped the hydrophone and listened to the vocalizations, a real highlight of the trip, and a reminder of how amazing these creatures are. After spending a great afternoon with the orcas we headed back towards Friday Harbor and spotted a steller sea lion on Whale Rocks, along with a great bald eagle and lots of those spotted harbor seals!

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L-pod sightings!

We had an amazing month of sightings in June, and July is off to a great start! Despite some grey skies and light rain, we left port at 1:30pm heading south around Cattle Point. We spent the afternoon with the only members of Lpod that have been in the area recently, L-53, L-72, L-95 and L-105. The largest of the three resident pods, it was wonderful to see some of the L members back in the area. On our way back in to the harbor a bald eagle flew directly over the boat, an amazing sight!

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Welcome July!

Seal eating salmon, San Juan Islands

Finally some summer weather! The first day of July and the Odyssey left port underneath beautiful blue sunny skies. The day’s highlights included a cartwheel by J-8 (Spieden) while we traveled north along South Pender Island, and several harbor porpoise sightings throughout the trip. We cannot wait to see what this month brings!

Pod of whales passing Speiden Island, San Juan Islands

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Transients and a Minke

With the resident orcas traveling quickly and at quite a distance, we were happy to hear that there was a pod of transient orcas close to home! We headed south through San Juan Channel to Cattle Pass, enjoying the overcast but warm afternoon. We first met up with the T75 just north of Cattle Pass, grouped tightly in a resting pattern. As they reached the powerful current of the pass they woke and powered through as we watched and followed them through. As we reached Long Island we spotted a minke whale and had an incredible sighting as it surfaced three times very close to the Odyssey! After spending some quality time with both the minke and the transients, snapping photos of tail slaps and half cartwheels, we made it back to port with smiles on our faces and some amazing wildlife stories. A fantastic trip!

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J pod and K pod members!

Another beautiful day towards the south end of the island. We left the harbor and headed south through San Juan Channel down to Cattle Pass, sighting all of J-pod and four K-pod members near False Bay. They were a very playful bunch! Make sure to check out some of our new photos on our facebo0k page. Breaching, tail lobs, and spyhopping! The water was wonderfully calm and the sunshine finally decided to come back to the San Juans. Good signs for another fantastic week to come!

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A perfect day!

After a stretch without seeing resident orcas, J-pod returned last night! As we left the dock there were reports of two different groups in our range. Part of J-pod was on the west side of San Juan, while the other members were traveling down Rosario Strait. We headed down through Cattle Pass, sighting several harbor seals and some brilliant bald eagles along the way, and the made our way up the west side of San Juan Island. The weather started to break and sunny skies finally spilled over our decks! After a couple of rainy trips, we couldn’t be happier. Our orca encounter was magnificent, and as we made our way back south, we spotted the rest of J-pod racing their way back to meet up with their family on the other side. A perfect day!

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Super Pod, all three resident pods!

Today we hit the jackpot and saw all three resident pods: J, K, and L! Our tour started south around Cattle Point, where along the way we spotted harbor seals and porpoise. Reports poured in that the action was happening back up north, so we changed course towards Trial Island, BC where we got a great show and some amazing photos! (Check 0ut our newest facebook album called “May 29, 2012” for a look at some of our favorite snapshots!)

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An afternoon with J-Pod

Today was one of those trips that makes all of us here at San Juan Excursions jump up and down! As we headed out at noon, reports indicated orcas in the far outer limits of our range – not the brightest news, but enough to keep us determined! As we always do, we encouraged our passengers to think those “good whale thoughts” – and when the day results like it did today, we know that those thoughts hold a lot of power!

They headed south from the Vancouver area and we met up with J-pod at East Point on Saturna Island. As all members of the pod rolled by, the excitement on the boat was tangible, but the show wasn’t over yet! J-pod rewarded us with spectacular surface behaviors: breaches, tail lobs, cartwheels, and waving at us by slapping their impressive pec fins! We got some great photos of the day, and headed back to port with smiles running the length of the Odyssey.

Steller seas lions were also spotted at East Point, and harbor seals dotted the surface along our trip. Another amazing day on the water!


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Sunny Saturday!

We have been spoiled with amazing sunny May weather on our last several tours; this Saturday’s tour was no different, and with one of our biggest trips so far this season, we got out to soak up as much as we could and enjoy it! Taking off through San Juan Channel we were accompanied by several harbor porpoise as we may our way towards Cattle Pass, catching sight of a great bald eagle in its enormous nest just north of Cattle Point (make sure to check out our newest facebook photo album “The Great Bald Eagle” with several of our fantastic pictures from the day). We continued on past Whale Rocks where we sighted two Steller sea lions, one lounging and one in the water. The day was also full of many harbor seal sightings, as well as a fantastic Minke whale sighting which served as the highlight of the tour. We shut down the Odyssey’s engines and stayed with the Minke for quite a while, and just when we thought it had moved on, the Odyssey caught up with it again for a second round of viewing. A day packed with wildlife and a blue sky the whole way!

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A beautiful Mother’s Day cruise!

The San Juans certainly delivered for Mother’s Day Sunday! We left the harbor with nothing but brilliant blue sky and unprecedented May sunshine and started our course south towards Cattle Pass. Our decks were full as we spotted the bright white head of a bald eagle perched on Whale Rock, as well as both a California and Steller sea lion lounging side by side on the same channel marker at Salmon Bank. Many great photos of the two sun bathing, with friendly cormorants standing guard! A beautiful sunny day on the water, and Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms who sailed with us!

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The 2012 season is off to a great start with Orcas and other marine life

We departed Friday Harbor at 12:00pm and with the unseasonably warm weather, knew we were going to have a nice day on the water. The conditions were perfect with no wind, warm weather and a very nice group aboard the Odyssey. We headed northwest toward Haro Strait and were excited to get our first glimpses of the residents in the 2012 season. We were fortunate to watch about a dozen members of J and K Pods in beautiful synchronized breathing and diving patterns resting the whole time. After our time with the whales we saw harbor seals on Sentinel Rock, bald eagles on Spieden Island as well as its other imported wildlife. We witnessed about a dozen Stellar sea lions in the water as we made our way back to Friday Harbor. What a wonderful day in April that will not soon be forgotten.

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