We were fortunate enough to take a whale watching cruise this past fall. We love the Island Mariner cruises out of Bellingham, Washington. The sun was out and there were dramatic fog banks rolling in and out of some of the San Juan Islands.
Sometimes you experience something that is so awesome that you wish everybody could do it. And that is what happens to me on the Island Mariner Whale Watch Cruise. There is just something about seeing those big, beautiful whales in their natural habitat coming up out of the water that is emotionally breathtaking. We share this world with some magnificent creatures and getting to see them is an experience I wish everyone in the world could witness. It made me realize how small we are in this big world and just how much there is to explore, how much man knows and how much he doesn’t know.
Saturday turned out to be a perfect day for our trip. We arrived before the 9:30AM time that is recommended and unloaded the things we had packed to take with us, quickly got our tickets and got in line. Wiff, who we found out is the ship Engineer, took down the rope and greeted us as he took our tickets and we walked down the ramp to be greeted by the Captain, Doane Brodie and Katie Anderson, the tour naturalist. The Island Caper is a double deck boat and we chose to sit at a table for four on the main level to start our adventure.
The cruise begins at 10 AM and we arrived back at the dock at about 5:00 PM. It sounds like a long day and it is, but it is a fun-filled day of relaxation and excitement all in one. The crew, who I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Love Boat, were incredible with their help, knowledge and concern for comfort and enjoyment. I’m beginning to sound like an ad for the Island Mariner Cruises and I’m not. I just want to share my experience with those who can’t make this trip and encourage those who can to do it.
You are able to move where you want on the boat. You can sit inside at a table with plenty of windows to see out of. You can be on the top deck in the sun, or sitting under the canopy. You can walk around, it is a very comfortable setting. Katie is explaining some of the scenery and pointing out the wild life as travel through the San Juan Islands. At some point, I’m not sure when, where or why, but about 2 hours into the trip you start feeling like family. Our fellow passengers were all doing their own thing, but being friendly and considerate of everyone. I think it was when the bald eagle was spotted in the tree on one of the Islands and Katie pointed it out that everyone wanted to be sure that everybody got to see it. As pictures were snapped the photographer would move out of the way so others could get the same picture. The beauty and wonder of seeing these things takes away any feelings of selfishness: you want everyone to see it all.
When the orca killer whales were spotted everyone moved to the side of the boat where they were seen. It is so exciting to see these big animals out in this huge expanse of open water. You don’t know where they will appear next. People begin pointing and sharing binoculars. Very exciting, very neat and very worth it.
Today we had a marvelous day on our whale watching cruise on the Island Caper. The weather was perfect and the eagles and Harbor seals were out sunning themselves in full view.
The cruise led us to parts of the San Juan Islands were orca killer whales from both K pod and L pod were very active. We saw orcas all around the boat.
One group from L pod came within about 20 yards of the port side. This group of adult and immature females was thrilling to watch.
Once again the Island Caper crew showed us an outstanding time during our voyage.