Conservation & Environment

Sea Quest was founded by biologists and conservationists dedicated to preserving the marine environment. We are passionate educators that enjoy sharing our insights on important oceanic conservation issues and celebrating the beauty and diversity of marine life!

Orca Porpoising by Kayaks in the San Juan Islands

Hidden Toxins Threaten Orca Whales in the San Juan Islands

We are enjoying an excellent summer for whale-watching kayak tours in the San Juan Islands. We set a record for the most 80 degree days ever and orca whales have been very active – the perfect blend for Sea Quest guests! All three pods of the salmon-eating orca have been putting on consistent shows as they travel and hunt fish along our kayak route in the Salish Sea of Washington. The orcas, also known […]

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Bull Orca Spyhops in the middle of a Sea Quest Kayak Tour

Orca Whales Return to Kayaking Routes along San Juan Island, Washington

We’ve been enjoying numerous whale watching encounters on our kayak tours in the San Juan Islands since the orca whales of L-pod returned this month. Local whale biologists have gotten a full set of identification photographs for the entire clan and have determined that two orcas did not survive the winter after they left the Salish Sea of Washington state to hunt in the open waters of the Pacific Ocean.

The Center for Whale Research […]

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Orca Whale Satellite Tagging Map of Washington

Killer Whale Satellite Tagging in Washington Puts Endangered Species at Risk

The controversial satellite tagging of killer whales in Washington has ended for 2013. We have posted twice before on this topic and the potential dangers it holds for the endangered orca whales that we enjoy on our kayak tours in the San Juan Islands. This year’s target was K-25, a young adult male born in 1991 that goes by the name of “Scoter”. The tag did not tear free of the orca whale’s dorsal […]

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Orca Whale Satellite Tagging Map of Washington

Orca Whale Darting Begins Badly in the San Juan Islands of Washington

Our last blog entry discussed the dangers from a new study that involves dart tagging the resident orca whales in Washington – the same friendly orcas we enjoy watching on our kayaking tours in the San Juan Islands. Despite widespread criticism, the NOAA research team darted the first orca whale on February 20. The target was J-26 (aka “Mike”, named after deceased pioneering killer whale biologist Michael Bigg) a 21 year old who is […]

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Limpet tag

San Juan Islands Killer Whales at Risk to New Invasive Darting Study

A new orca whale research project for the San Juan Islands of Washington has just been approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service, the infamous federal agency known for constantly blocking protections for marine mammals or bungling their conservation management. This study will directly impact the killer whales we enjoy observing on our San Juan Islands kayak tours.

This new study involves shooting metal tags that are known to cause major tissue damage and possible […]

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Orcas From Above

Washington Kayakers & Orca Whale Watchers Celebrate Victory for Salmon Conservation

People who enjoy orca whale watching and kayaking in Washington’s Salish Sea rejoiced at yesterday’s news. U.S. District Court Judge James Redden ruled that the National Marine Fishers Service (NMFS) miserably failed yet again to produce either a legal or scientifically adequate plan to protect endangered salmon from extinction. This is the 3rd time in 10 years that the judge has ruled against NMFS and demands that they improve their shoddy efforts that are […]

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Part 3: Federal Management of Killer Whales in San Juan Islands is Failing – Not Based on Science

NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service) claims their new orca whale watching regulations for kayakers and kayak tours in the San Juan Islands are based on science, but the overwhelming majority of field scientists who work with wild orca whales disagree. As do those who know orca whales intimately, such as our kayak tour guides who have been working in close proximity to killer whales for decades and understand their behavior far better than government […]

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San Juan Islands Kayaking with Killer Whales - Washington state

Part 2: New Kayaking with Killer Whales Rules in the San Juan Islands are Arbitrary & Hypocritical

The new whale watching rules we discussed in our previous article apply to kayaks and most commercial and private boats. They are meant to protect the orcas from sound pollution that can interrupt hunting and cause stress in whales. Strangely, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) applied these new regulations to include silent sea kayaks while exempting freighters and military vessels. Obviously, these huge ships are the fastest and loudest in the whales’ habitat, […]

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Killer Whale Watching Kayak Trips from Friday Harbor, Washington

Part 1: New Orca Whale Watching Rules Have Not Affected Kayak Trips in the San Juan Islands

We haven’t yet crunched the numbers, but it appears that new orca whale watching rules for the San Juan Islands of Washington have not had any impact on our killer whale watching kayak trips’ success rate this year. We will publish our June 2011 results in a few days so stay tuned our blog!
Most of our kayaking encounters with the killer whales are admittedly at greater distances this year, but there are no regulations […]

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Friday Harbor, Washington Kayaking - San Juan Islands: Giant Sea Lions

Winter Kayaking in the San Juan Islands: Orca Whale Watching Report – Biggest Bull is Missing

It’s been a strange winter in the San Juan Islands of Washington state. Fickle weather and inaccurate forecasts have made it difficult to lead many kayak tours this season. Compared to the horrendous storms the rest of the country has suffered with, we have been fortunate to have much milder conditions in Washington and the Pacific Northwest. So it has been possible to go on several kayaking trips this winter in the San Juan […]

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