We have returned to Panama, but I still have some photos and adventures from our USA visit to catch up on. One of the highlights was a trip to the San Juan Islands to look for orcas. We had problems that turned out to be blessings in disguise.

We had made arrangements to go from Seattle to the islands on the Victoria Clipper, take a whale watching tour, and then return to Seattle that evening. We had a very enjoyable morning trip up through the beautiful islands and waterways to the San Juan Islands. After dropping off passengers, the same boat set out for the whale watching excursion. We were only a few minutes away from the dock when the boat stopped, and then announced that one of the engines wasn’t working properly and we needed to return to the dock.

It was now about noon and the whale watching was cancelled. Arrangements had been made to take the passengers on the 3:30 ferry to Anacortes where they would be met by a bus to Seattle, ETA about 7:30 PM. There were other whale watching tour companies but none of them could get us out and back in time to catch the ferry.

What to do? What to do??  It is a wonderful thing to have kids with good jobs and the means to make things happen when necessary!

Plan B – book a tour, and hire a sea plane to take us back to Seattle!

We ended up on this little boat with 10 passengers, a captain who had been doing tours for years and knew the habits of the orcas, and a naturalist who was full of information about the orcas as well. It was wonderful to be out with a couple people who were so passionate about these whales and the wildlife in the area, and loved sharing it with others. The other big boat could never had been a wonderful as this tour, and we also got extremely lucky. Even the pros were saying we saw more orcas and more interesting behavior that most people see in weeks on the water with these animals.


I wish I had better photos! I had ordered a camera and the company took 11 days to ship it so I had not only left CA when it arrived, I had left the USA. Grrrrr! So, all I had was my iPad.

Anyway, after a fantastic few hours with the orcas, we made our way back to town, had some dinner, and then took the sea plane back to Seattle. What a fun experience!

We spent the rest of the evening walking back to the car through interesting neighborhoods, along the waterfront and through a sculpture garden. We wouldn’t have done this either with our original plans. Sometimes when things go wrong, they can go way better than expected. And, when my daughter called the next day she learned that the boat was going to refund the money for the entire trip! How nice to find out the dent in her bank account wasn’t going to be quite as big as it could have been.

What a day of wonderful experiences!

About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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6 Responses to Orcas!

  1. Steve Muse says:

    That is great you getting such a good look at the Orcas. I agree, sometimes when things do not go as planned, you can still have a good experience. I believe that a lot of that has to do with one’s attitude towards the situation. I am glad had a great visit.


  2. You are having way too much adventure & excitement!


  3. emma says:

    what a freaking awesome day!!!


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