Whale Watching >> San Juan Islands

The highlight of my little blogging hiatus was definitely the trip we took out to the San Juan Islands a few weeks back. I had gotten a gift certificate for my birthday from my sister in law that needed using, so even though it wasn't the most ideal time calendar-wise, we got up at the craaaaaack of dawn and headed up to Anacortes to catch the ferry. This was the ferry terminal as the sun was coming up. It was SUPER foggy as we drove north and west from Seattle, but we got lucky and had postcard-perfect weather all day after the fog cleared.
We had a couple of hours to kill before our tour, so we spent it in the town of Friday Harbor, which is right where the ferry drops you off. I kind of thought there'd be more to do there than there was, so it was actually a little boring. Although, we did stop at an awesome gem for lunch, a cheese and wine shop that also did small plates and paninis. They had a beautiful little back patio where we enjoyed a glass of wine and some food before we headed down to the boat (I didn't get any pics so you'll have to use your imagination).

We got on the boat, which had super knowledgeable guides, and headed out.

Although it was bordering on hot on land, once we were on the moving boat it was pretty chilly. I was glad I had brought a hat and a couple of sweaters! The tour company had lots of blankets on board that you could use, as well as binoculars. After about an hour of cruising and spotting lots of seals and birds, we came upon a huge pod of Orcas.

You can see the tips of their fins in the pic above. I didn't really take any pictures while we watched the Orcas, because the guides had huge telephoto lenses that they were taking photos with, and they said they would email us the pics after our trip so we could focus on just watching. Although, I'm still waiting on that email...

The whales were "resting" here, so we didn't see much more than you can see in the photo, but they moved up and down a lot. I cannot begin to express just how beautiful and awe-inspiring being out there was. Seeing these amazing creatures out in the wild was a truly special experience. We saw Blackfish a couple of months ago, and it really brought close to home the stories of the Orcas that were taken from this area in the 1970s, and how unbelievable it is that we keep them in captivity. Have any of you seen this movie? I really recommend it.

I thought this last picture was pretty funny. It's another boat out watching the whales, and you can see how lopsided it is from everyone standing on one side to see them. I'm sure ours looked the same!

On the way back, the sun was setting as we took the ferry back to the mainland, and I took about a bajillion photos which I'll share in another post. The whole day was just about as good as it gets, and was so very "PNW." We're hoping to head back up to the San Juans and do more exploring soon. Ah, so much fun looking back at this! Especially since it's cold and rainy here today. It feels like we skipped Fall and headed straight for winter here in Seattle. Hopefully we get a few more days of sunshine and crunchy leaves before the gloom settles in for good! I'm trying not to fight it though, and I'm making a big pot of veggie chili this afternoon.

shanti >> sondra



  1. What a lovely day! Beautiful pictures and I think it is amazing you saw Orca whales! I'd love to see them in real life someday. What beautiful creatures :)

    ♥ Felicia


  2. Wow! How amazing! And what beautiful photos.

  3. abhaya_sondra10/2/13, 11:53 AM

    Thank you! I really love taking photos. It was such a fun day. :)

  4. abhaya_sondra10/2/13, 11:54 AM

    Well, it's raining here as I write this. Again. Sigh...

  5. abhaya_sondra10/2/13, 11:55 AM

    If you ever get a chance, it's definitely an experience of a lifetime!

  6. Britta Marie10/15/13, 10:22 PM

    i brought my sister here a few years ago and we saw the whales swim by. it was amazing. she cried, and then decided to pursue the field of marine science ;) haha. so lovely, brings back memories <3

  7. abhaya_sondra10/24/13, 10:36 AM

    that's amazing that she went into it for her studies! I teared up, too, and I NEVER cry at things. I don't know why, but it was such a moving experience.