What time do the whales come by?
Please remember that Orcas are wild animals and they have travel and feeding patterns that we humans are still studying. Based on scientific observations there is a 'greater likelihood' that you will see Orcinus Orca here as the tide is coming in. The incoming tide pushes fish against the island shelf (which drops 400 - 600 feet a 1/4 mile offshore).

This creates a large buffet table for them and they work their way up the shelf while feeding. This is also why we tend to see them at approximately the same distance from shore day-in, day-out. Usually they'll be around from four hours before high tide up until high tide. Occasionally they will travel back south with the ebb, but tend to be moving fast and spread over a greater distance.

We are frequently visited by 3 resident pods of orcas (J pod = 29 whales, K = 19, L = 36). Sometimes the pods will intermingle, giving a rare opportunity to observe a 'super pod'. Occasionally, there may be distant sightings of mammal-eating transient orcas, though usually further from shore. Our resident orcas generally dine on salmon and other fish species.

Summer observations sometimes yield Dall's porpoise (most common sighting), harbor porpoise, Humpback whale, Pilot Whale, Northern Right Whale, Pacific white-sided Dolphin, and others. Also sightings of Minkes are common in late summer (usually solitary).

We also encourage people to visit Lime Kiln State Park (2.5 miles south) as Orcas frequent the area between Cattle Point and Lime Kiln a bit more than here. There are also good interpretive panels available there.

While in Friday Harbor, make time to visit the Whale Museum. Admission rates are very reasonable and they offer a wonderful exhibit area, art gallery and gift store. You can also check on recent marine mammal sightings.Whale Musuem's Website

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1. Can I still reserve a campsite by phone?
2. I want to get married at Eastsound Waterfront Park this summer. Can I do that?
3. How do I get from Friday Harbor to County Day Parks on San Juan Island?
4. How do I get to County Day Parks on Lopez Island?
5. How do I get to County Day Parks on Orcas Island?
6. What time do the whales come by?
7. Do San Juan County Parks accept WA State Discover Passes?