Whidbey and San Juan Islands Part 3
In our research we found that we timed it almost perfectly to photograph Red Fox Kits on San Juan Island, Unfortunately we had one more day to wait before we were able to set out on our photographic journey to photograph these amazing animals.
We arrived on Whidbey Island via ferry and as we unloaded we were off to explore the island. Earlier while waiting in line to board the ferry we talked to a woman that lived on the Island and she gave us some tips as to where to go and what to see. We had eagles on our mind and fortunately there was a marshy area as soon as we disembarked so we immediately started looking for Bald Eagles. We saw one that we attempted to photograph and it flew away fairly quickly before we could really get any good shots.
We continued to explore the island and grabbed a bite to eat and then checked into our motel. I believe this was our first normal check in as all of the others we had to get instruction on how to check in late.
Our goal was to shoot sunset at Deception Pass and hopefully shoot the moonrise. We had a nice sunset but nothing spectacular, I guess we were spoiled after our first night in the Olympic National Park up on Hurricane Ridge. As far as the moon rise, it was too cloudy and the moon did not show itself. Other than a few sunset pictures I did not take many on Whidbey Island as I was more excited about our next stop which was San Juan Island and the fox kits.
The Fox Kits
The foxes were fairly easy to find and although there are multiple dens around the Island, we spent our time at San Juan Historic National Park. The thing that amazed me the most was all of the different colors for each fox kit. Some of the fox kits were silver and black some were tan in color and one was even cinnamon. There were 3 fox kits and from what we were told a mom and the grandmother. We did not see papa fox.
It was exciting to see the mom bring a rabbit and rodents to the kits. I actually never saw any of them eat the bounty, however, I believe that the mom was using the kill to teach them how to search and or hide food. The kits played with each other and ran all around us. We were supposed to stay 75 feet away and although we tried, at times the kits would come within feet of us and we would have to get up and move if we could not shew them away. We did not want them to become use to humans and the goal is to keep them wild.
We had so much fun, we went back the next morning to see if we could capture more great pictures. When we arrived there were a few other photographers and the activity was non existent. The fox and their kits were still in their dens and it was not until about an hour or so before they started to show themselves. Unfortunately tons of other photographers did the same. The evening before there were only a handful of photographers and on this morning there had to be close to 40. I was able to capture a few more shots that I really liked before our morning was cut short. We had to leave for our whale watching tour we had previously scheduled.
Whale Watching Tour
Maya’s Legacy Whale Watching tour did not disappoint. In fact we were told by the captain that there are very few days that he remembers, as they all run together, but this day was one for the record books. I think Captain Jeff and and his deck mate April were more excited than the rest of us. We saw all kinds of sea creatures that you would expect to see on a tour like this and yes, we saw Killer Whales.
The thing that was most interesting was that we saw all different types of behavior of the whales. We got to see them sharing a sea lion that they just killed, we saw them sleeping and we saw them swimming really fast and porpoise out of the water, presuming after another dinner opportunity. At one point the whales got super close so Captain Jeff had to turn off his motor as we watched the whales come closer and closer to our boat.
It was exciting to see them this close, however it was much easier to photograph the fox kits than it was the whales. Between the boat moving up and down with the waves and not knowing where the whales would surface, made it extremely challenging to capture sharp images. Wish I would have thought to shoot some video.
As our tour ended we were dropped off where we boarded which was in Friday Harbor and right next to the Ferry Terminal. We had a few hours before we were scheduled to catch the ferry back to Whidbey Island. We decided to reward ourselves with some clam chowder and a nice charcuterie board at Downriggers.
As we relaxed and finished every bite on the charcuterie board we looked at the clock and then decided it was time to board the ferry. We were off to our 3rd eco system in Washington State. The North Cascade National Park and surrounding areas. Stay tuned as the 4th and final blog on my trip to the Pacific Northwest will be released shortly.