Trip Reports & Updates

July 18-21, 2014

What a great weekend for whale watching.  We went 10 miles west of Victoria and encountered J & K pod.  This tight group was doing lots of rolling and breaching.  We also got the opportunity to see a humpback and calf off of Constance Bank.  Then we had Minke whale sighting at Davidson Rock near Lopez Island.  Great weather and calm seas made it fun to watch the whales.  Traveling around the islands are also such beautiful sights to see.  And the seals, porpoises and eagles in Washington are great.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

We went inner island and encountered L pod off the San Juan Channel. That was such a great show to see.  As we continued to follow them we saw a portion of J pod off Henry Island, off the north end of San Juan.  We did a complete circumnavigation watching them breaching, rolling, tail slaps and spy hops.  We have had such great sightings of whales everyday since May 15th.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Mystic Sea set sail for its tour into the fog.  As it approached Cattle Pt. on the San Juan Island the fog was gone and there was plenty of sunshine.  The sea was flat and calm.  And almost immediately we saw K pod out and about.  Phenomenal show.  This show continued up to Eagle Pt. where we also saw J pod.  Got word of a humpback whale spotted with a calf.  We headed towards Hein bank where we encountered a mother and calf playing in kelp and rolling.  This continued for 45 minutes.  Left Hein bank headed for Davidson Rock and encountered 1 large minke whale and 50 harbor seals on the rocks.

Also on board was NBC Universal Sports Network with Eddyline Kayaks, doing a documentary on whale watching and kayaking off the San Juan Islands.  They launched kayaks off the boat in the San Juan Islands.  It was a pleasure having everyone on-board.  Thank you all for a spectacular day.

Monday, July 14, 2014   SUPERPOD!!!

Early morning there was some fog.  As we reach Eagle point the fog cleared to calm seas and lots of sunshine.  About 12:30 is when we encountered all 3 pods milling around.  We saw lots of spyhops, tailslaps, mating rituals, and breaching.  Watching the superpod was just amazing. Its always so fun to watch around 80 whales.  J, K, and L pods all swimming together.  This was from Lime Kiln lighthouse to Eagle point.  On the way back we encourtered lots of native wildlife.  Eagles soaring overhead and seals enjoing the sun and water.  Such a beautiful day.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Slick (J16) and her three kids Mike (J26), Alki (J36) and Echo (J42) milled, breached, spy-hopped and tail-slapped off Turn Point Lighthouse, Stuart Island, to the delight of shore and boat-based whale-watchers privileged to see this close-knit family unit in their natural surroundings on another glorious Pacific Northwest day. Sandra Pollard, Naturalist on Mystic Sea

Photo Credit Sandra Pollard

Friday, July 11, 2014

Nice weather!!!  Bright sunshine warm temps.  As we sailed along the Rosario Strait and across the south side of Lopez Island we saw J & K Pods.  For the first time this season we got a fantastic show from K-26 Lobo.  We saw whales from Victoria to Eagle point along with seals and bird.  There was lots of breaching, spy hops and tail slaps.  On the return trip home in Hughes and Aleck bay there was 4 huge eagles nest.  Saw porpoises in Rosario Strait and 4 bald eagles.  Such beautiful wildlife to see. 

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, for more updates and pictures.  And if you have pictures post share them so others can see your experience.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Mystic Sea set sail into the fog in search of whales.  Reached the center of the San Juan Islands and the fog lifted.  It was such a bright and sunny day the remainder of the day.  We watched members of J pod swim around and fish. Then we encountered L pod.  They were in a very playful mood.  There was lots of breaches, tail slaps, and spyhops.  We followed them along Stuart Island to Turn Point light house.  On the return trip home enjoyed the gorgeous weather and the eagles flying overhead.  Also got an opportunity to see seals basking in the sun.  Another great day in the Pacific Northwest.

What a weekend!!!

This July 4th - 7th was awesome for whale watching.  Surprising everybody, it seems that K-pod slipped into the Salish Sea overnight Tuesday and joined up with J and L-pod, to make the first “superpod” gathering for 2014! We found them in choppy seas by Kellett Bluff (Henry Island) as they traveled towards Stuart Island. Gray whales was spotted off of Whidbey Island by decption pass.  We had an appearance of a minke whale near Hien bank that wanted to play with the Orcas'. 9 full breaches from the Minke.  Humpback was spotted around Stewart and Spieden Islands.  What a privilege to see this huge family of whales, traveling together in small mixed groups of 10 or so, so beautiful in the sunshine. We are so lucky to have them in our waters. Our passengers were delighted with such a wonderful show ….. another great day aboard Mystic Sea! Jill Hein, volunteer naturalist.

Photo Credit Jill Hein

 


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Such a beautiful day for whale watching.  Crusing through the inner islands, we saw lots of seals and porpoises enjoying the sunshine.  Went along the northwest portion of the San Juan Islands and encountered a large group of whales near Battleship Island.  There was lots of tail flapping, jumping and breaching.  That was a fabulous show to see.  On the return route near Spieden Island saw lots of eagles and other widlife.  Phenonmenal sightings.

 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The cruise started its travel through the inner island.  There they encountered a large school of harbor porpoises.  Lots of action from J pod cruising off Davidson Rock, San Juan Island, breaches, jumping,and rolling and gentle play on yet another peaceful summer's day in the glorious Pacific Northwest. Sandra Pollard (SSAMN) - Author of "Puget Sound Whales for Sale"

Photo Credit Sandra Pollard

 

Monday, June 30, 2014

We set sail southbound through the Rosario Strait. On the south end of Lopez Island we encountered a seal rookery.  We saw about 100 seals with their pups.  As we continued to cruise around the San Juan Island we got a fabulous show from members of the J & L Pods.  There was lots of breaching and tail slaps.  Passengers on board had an awesome time watching the whales. 

Photo Credit Bobby Ho

 

Friday, June 27, 2014

An interesting weather day, we started out with fairly strong winds and some (much needed) rain, expected to have rough seas but were pleasantly surprised along the western shores of the San Juan Islands. Then heard the magic word “whales” – and found J-pod and part of L-pod, really booking, south of Waldron Island, in calm seas!. Not the best photographic conditions with intermittent rain showers – but what a spectacular show as these whales porpoised towards Turn Point. What a treat, even if we were slightly wet. On the return trip we traveled through the beautiful Islands, had a few short sun-breaks and could see rain showers all around us. We saw harbor porpoises and many harbor seals – several with new seal pups. Another great day on the Mystic Sea! Jill Hein, volunteer naturalist.

 

 

Photo Credit Jill Hein

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lots of sunshine and lovely blue skies.  The boat travelled south bound out of Rosario Strait towards Davidson Rock. The south end of Lopez Island is pretty to see.  Encountered L & J pods in False Bay off the San Juan Island.  It was a fantastic show from some of the residents (L95, J24, & J32).  Lots of breaching.  As the trip continued around the San Juan and the inner islands there was also lots of seals and eagles.  They are also amazing to see.  Great sightings and wonderful weather made this an awesome cruise.

 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Caught up with J and L pod at Eagle Point, water smooth and sun shining. Headed north with lovely family groups, a lot of breaching and rolling over....nice white bellies with big pecs up in the air! Great, happy group of passengers, including some international guests, from Finland and Wales! Bonnie Gretz, volunteer naturalist.

Photo Credit Jill Hein


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What a beautiful day!  The Mystic Sea sailed to the north end of Orcas and came around the San Juan Channel.    Then the inner islands near Yellow Island and encountered J pod and part of K pod.  They where enjoying the sun as much as the passengers.  It was spectacular sightings.   Followed the whales through the Spieden Channel to Battleship. Lots of breaching and spy hops.  Oh it is fun to be able to see. Photo Credit Sandra Pollard

 

 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Mystic Sea covered almost 100 miles today.  Whales were spotted at Active Pass in Canada.  They gave a phenomenal show and it was so much sunshine.  What a way start to the weekend.  There was 30 full breaches & 8-10 spy hops.  Please check out our facebook page for pictures.

 

June 19, 2014

PERFECT DAY WITH ALL 3 ORCA PODS!! This morning we heard reports from the other boats in our whale fleet that members of all three Southern Resident Orca pods seemed to be all converging on the southwest side of San Juan Island, so we beelined it there . . . and what a a spectacular show it was! We counted over 25 full breaches, about half a dozen spy hops, numerous tail lobs, and we were even lucky enough to see one whale do a cartwheel! The water was calm and the slightly overcast sky made for a perfect backdrop for photos. Several passengers got some amazing photos and videos that we will be posting in the next few days, so be sure to check back soon!
On the way back we took our time and enjoyed the sunshine as we cruised the southern end of Lopez Island, checking out all the neat little nooks and crannies along the way. Another highlight of the afternoon was when Captain Monte took us over to 'Harbor Seal Haven' on the south side of Colville. There were probably over 50 of them hauled out on the rocks, such cute little guys just basking in the sun. It was a glorious day! 

Photo credits: Jill Hein





June 17

103 yr old Granny, breaching Blackberry, and a Minke whale too!

AWESOME DAY with 103 yr old GRANNY and breaching BLACKBERRY, amongst many, many other Orca whales in all directions off of the west side of San Juan Island, at least 100 seals hauled out on Colville Island, a speedy Minke whale off of Salmon Bank, a regal osprey perched on a snag on Lopez, and a gaggle of other beautiful birds . . . plus awesome weather, and a great group of passengers! Can't beat a day like today!

We have been seeing our Southern Resident J-pod members almost everyday, as well as great Humpback and Minke sightings. Due to some technical issues though, we have not been able to post our trip reports here on our website for the last couple of weeks. For those of you who enjoy following along, you may catch up with us on our Mystic Sea Facebook page, using the link below. It has been a FANTASTIC JUNE!

For June 2-16 Trip Reports: https://www.facebook.com/MysticSeaCharters

Orca breach sequence photo credit: Richard Malzahn, June 15

Big Mama and calf photo credit: Jill Hein, June 6

Check out all our other photos from the past two weeks on our facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/MysticSeaCharters

 

T100C near Flat-Top Island, heading east. Photo credit: Jill Hein

June 1

Triple Orca Pod Sightings!

Welcome to June, Orca month! What a way to start it with TRIPLE orca pod sightings! We found members of J-pod led by matriarch J2 Granny, out by Henry Island. They were spread out doing lots of tail lobs, spy-hops, and breaches. Then we heard about – and found - Bigg’s killer whales (T-100s) between Flattop and Waldron Islands with T100C in the lead……and then - MORE Bigg’s killer whales on the west side of Orcas Island. WOW, how cool is that? Not only whales all around, but harbor seals, harbor porpoise, many seabirds, a spectacularly calm sunny day and very happy passengers!

~ Beachwatchers Naturalist, Jill Hein

Above: Granny, J2, Our first sighting of the day!

Below: Lots of Tail Lobs! Photo credits: Jill Hein


May 30

Orca's lunch and Minke whale fun

The weather warriors were rooting on our side today, with picture perfect conditions all day long! Approximately 1 mile south of Partridge Bank we got a phenomenal Minke Whale show with at least half a dozen whales circling our boat amongst at least 1,000 seagulls gathering in bait balls to feed. Onward, we were greeted at Shark Reef with two Bald Eagles and at least 100 Harbor Seals lounging in the sunshine!! Finally, we caught word of our Orcas, YIPPIE!! We immediately headed straight towards them, first cutting into Mud Bay, then we took a short cut through Lopez Pass and headed straight across Rosario Strait to Bize Point on Fidalgo Island just north of Deception Pass. Arriving on scene, the Orcas had just gone in for a kill! Oh my! From then on out, it was all oooh's and ahhh's aboard the Mystic Sea at the sighting of these beautiful animals. We were amongst the pod T65a consisting of 3 females, 2 males and 1 calf. They spent the better part of 30 minutes rolling through the glistening water along side the boat. We had whales and smiles in every direction, spectacular way to end our day!   ~Mystic Sea Naturalist, Katie Grant

Photo credit:Katie Grant


May 29

Close encounter

Today's whale watch had us all on the edge of our seats! We cruised south through Rosario Strait, making a quick pit stop at the Burrows Island lighthouse, standing tall since 1906. Continuing on, Smith Island treated us with the always-adorable Harbor Seals as well as an abundance of Cormorants. We spotted our first Minke whale near Partridge Bank, then headed west toward Hein Bank where we searched for more. We continued the day with a bang off of Lopez Island with a Minke who gave us her best show! Surfaced to say hello, and we had multiple close encounters!! Minke whales are about 25 feet long and 15 tons, and quite a sight to see! We were homeward bound through the Davidson Rock area (my personal favorite location in the San Juans) and saw so much wildlife including porpoise, bald eagles, pigeon guillemot, harbor seals and also some gorgeous madrona trees! Great weather, great group, & great wildlife. Perfect day! -Katie Grant

Photo credit: Katie Grant

 

May 28

Anacortes High

This evening, the Mystic Sea Charters is indulging in a donation cruise to thank the Anacortes High School Key Club! Great kids and picture perfect weather, couldn't have asked for a better evening! Special thanks to the Kiwanis of Anacortes for making this program possible, and a even bigger thanks to all the kids who participate. YOU GUYS ROCK! -Katie Grant



Mermaid rocks, photo credit: Katie Grant

 

May 25

Evening cruise with phenomenal scenery


May 24

Anacortes Whale Watching Kick Off!

It was a wonderful day to kick off our whale watching season in Anacortes! The day started off a tad chilly with slight overcast and a fair amount of wind, but took a turn for the best when the sun popped out and there was calm water ahead. There was a California Sea Lion hauled out on a buoy south of Cypress Island for all to see! We continued our journey through Thatcher Pass and around Lopez island soaking in all the beauty and wildlife the San Juans have to offer. We were welcomed into the San Juan channel, greeted by cute Harbor Seals and giant Stellar Sea Lions! As we continued south into the Straight of Juan De Fuca, we finally got our whales! Four rolling Minkie whales made several appearances. We wrapped up our successful day on the water cruising by Smith and Minor Island, a wildlife sanctuary. We saw at least 100 seals lounging in the sun and two bald eagles perched dominantly on a light house. All in all, it was just another beautiful, adventurous journey aboard the Mystic Sea.
Katie Grant

The Mystic Sea with spectacular Mount Baker in the background, Photo credit: Sandy Pollard

 

 

And that's a wrap for our Gray Whale Season

May 12, 2014

Beautiful day for a cruise

Mirror-like conditions in Possession Sound today, winter jackets left behind - and soooo much to see. California and Steller sea lions on the channel marker, Harbor Seals, Pacific and Common Loons, Caspian Terns, Bald Eagles, Rhinoceros Auklets - but no gray whales spouted for us today. Are they already on their way further north? Jill Hein (SSAMN) (4 photos)

May 5

Close call

Patches (#49) made an appearance east of Hat Island at 12:25 pm, while at 1:10 pm #723 had passengers on Mystic Sea holding their breath as he traversed the Clinton/Mukilteo ferry dock in sight of the approaching ferry... All passengers gave a sigh of relief when #723 surfaced before waving farewell with his flukes and heading towards Possession Point.

Sandra Pollard (SSAMN), Naturalist on the Mystic Sea

 

2014

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