Whale Watching in the Strait of Juan de Fuca

humpback whale

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to have my first whale watching experience!  I was even more lucky to enjoy it with family on my uncle’s boat.  It was an incredible couple of hours seeing several orca pods and humpback whales.

killer whale

We headed out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a channel that runs between southern Vancouver Island, Canada and the northern Olympic Peninsula in Washington.  We had been out the day before and didn’t see anything, but heard guys at the dock later saying they saw orca pods two separate times.  We were really hoping we’d have better luck this time out.  After a few minutes of looking around, we saw the first dorsal fin come out of the water.

killer whale
It was by far one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed.  The sheer size of these whales is enough to leave you speechless!

Click below to see a ton of pictures of orcas (even a baby!) and humpback whales!

killer whale
killer whale
killer whalekiller whale
killer whale
killer whale
The first pod of orcas we saw came so close to our boat it was crazy!  I still can’t believe I have pictures that close.  It was incredible to see in person.
We decided to move farther out into the Strait and ended up near a couple of whale watching boats.  It was so quiet on the water that you could hear the whales blowing out water each time they surfaced.  Words can’t describe how amazing it was to be witnessing all of this.

killer whale watching
killer whale watching
killer whale olympics
killer whale olympics
And then in the distance, we saw our first humpback whale.

humpback whale
humpback whale
humpback whale
It was fascinating watching the whales’ patterns.  The killer whales surfaced frequently and it was easy to guess their path.  Humpback whales didn’t surface as much so it was a lot harder to know where they were going.  They usually surfaced three times in a row and we knew on the third time, they’d dive back down and we’d see their tail.  Then it was the guessing game of when we’d see them next.  We got incredibly lucky and one ended up surfacing right off the front of the boat.

strait of juan de fuca
humpback whale
humpback whale
humpback whale
humpback whale
humpback whale
humpback whale
humpback whale
humpback whale
Again, I can’t believe I actually got these pictures and witnessed that with my own two eyes!  I know I keep saying the word incredible but I don’t know how else to describe it!  It truly was a once in a lifetime experience and being around family made it that much more special.  You better believe we were beside ourselves with excitement each time someone spotted a whale surfacing.
Finally, it was time to head back in and the humpback surfaced one last time.

humpback whale
This is a day I’ll never forget.  I’m glad I have the pictures to forever remember it!  Seeing whales in the wild is like nothing else.  It’s by far one of the best days in my life and means so much more sharing it with the people I love most.

Have any of you ever been out whale watching?  Where did you go and what did you see?  Comment and share below!

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6 thoughts on “Whale Watching in the Strait of Juan de Fuca

  1. Just got back from Buoy 10 Salmon fishing. The fishing wasn’t that great. Did bring back a few. But we did have some porpoises swimming with us. And the whale show was one to never forget. Not sure if they were grey whales or humpbacks. But they were huge. We saw a couple in the distance, spouting. One mommy had two babies. Then next thing we know, they were right next to us. A group of five. We shut down our progress and enjoyed the show. The big mommy and I mean big, would dive down and push the Anchovies to the top of the water, the birds would fly in. Then ‘bam” she would fly out of the water with her mouth wide open. Her head was as big as my 4X4 truck. She must have swallowed a gazillion little fish. The second time she came up, the birds flew in, one unlucky gull flew right down her throat as she closed her mouth and went under. I assume she spit it out, so to reduce the chance of getting a feather ball in her throat. Immediately after she came out of the water twice, straight in the air. She was over 30 feet in the air and only half of her body was out of the water. It was cool. Glad you had fun on your family outing. Always fun on the water!

  2. Sounds like fun. Everyone should keep an eye out for dolphins, the have long noses and hooked dorsal fins, unlike the Harbor Porpoise. Some Common Dolphins have been seen in PS and I’m pretty sure I had a pair of Bottlenosed Dolphins up by us. Both of these are extremely rare here.

    • It was a lot of fun! That’s so cool we have dolphins in the Puget Sound! I didn’t know that, I’ll definitely keep my eye out the next time I’m on the water. That’s awesome you had bottle nosed Dolphins by you!

  3. Pingback: Farewell 2016 | Country Huntress

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