This morning we changed our plan and booked a whale watching tour with Outer Island Excursions out of Skyline Marine in Anacortes. Their whale watching guarantee is temporarily suspended since US boats cannot travel into Canadian waters, which limits their typical routes. This year the company is averaging whale sightings on 90% of their tours. On the morning tour yesterday, patrons were not so lucky (but we didn’t know this until the boat had left the harbor). We immediately headed south, towards Deception Pass.
As we approached Deception Pass Bridge, our captain said he had a surprise for us. Earlier that morning, a pod of transient orcas traveled through Deception Pass into Skagit Bay. This rarely happens so not only were the guests happy, so were the employees. The captain pointed out what a treat it must have been for workers to see orcas pass under them as they repaired and painted the bridge. We followed the pod at a distance for about 45 minutes within Skagit Bay. At one point we saw a seal in the water, close to the pod, but before we had a chance to warn him, it was too late. The water was red. They then took their kill and swam right under the boat.
The pod was a group of five, a mother and her offspring. Orcas are identified by their markings. The adult female has a distinct notch on her dorsal fin. They will most likely continue on their path south later today or tonight.
I cannot believe our luck.