Welcome the Whales to Whidbey and Camano Islands

Welcome the Whales to Whidbey and Camano Islands
Gray whale pectoral fin make an appearance in Langley, just north of the harbor. (Courtesy: John Herman and Minette Layne)

Spring brings the return of many things; cherry blossoms bloom, birds fly back to their nests and gray whales make their way to Whidbey and Camano Islands. 

 
During the months of March, April and May, 10 – 12 gray whales feed off the shores of the islands regularly. These regular visitors, or “residents” according to the locals, have distinguishable markings and many are recognizable from the shore. The whales feast on ghost shrimp in shallow water, so sightings from the beach are a regular occurrence. 
 
If you’d rather take to the waters to see these amazing mammals in action, you can take a ferry or a whale watching tour. Several companies offer tours, including Deception Pass Tours, Mystic Sea Charters and Clipper Vacations. You can also get a workout in while whale watching by renting a kayak. 
 
If you’re in Langley, keep your ears peeled for the sound of the whale bell. It rings when a whale is spotted off shore. Be sure to ring it yourself if you happen to see one! Explore the brand new Langley Whale Center to learn more about the animals.  While in Coupeville, check out the skeleton of Rosie the Whale at the historic wharf.
 
Island residents care deeply about the welfare of the whales. The Orca Network is an organization on Whidbey Island dedicated to raising awareness about the whales of the Pacific Northwest and the importance of providing them healthy and safe habitats. Projects include the Whale Sighting Network and Education Programs, the Free Lolita Campaign, and the Central Puget Sound Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Lolita was captured in Penn Cove during the worst Orca whale round up in history in 1970 and is still living in captivity in Florida. Washington state’s newest ferry is named Tokitae in honor of Lolita and will serve the Mukilteo-Clinton route to Whidbey Island, starting in June .
 
Welcome the Whales Day takes place on Saturday, April 19th from 11 AM – 3 PM in Langley. There will be a parade, educational activities, displays and more! For more information visit our website.