Whale Watching and Abundant Marine Life
To the delight of locals and visitors, anywhere that there is access to a view of the Strait, there is the exciting possibility of sighting whales!
Orcas, or killer whales, are easily recognized by their black triangular dorsal fins that break the surface as they rise for air. Some orca groups cruise the rocky areas near shore hunting for seals.
Other orcas eat only fish, and their family groups follow the salmon runs of spring, summer and fall into the waters of the Strait and Puget Sound.
Gray whales are a species of baleen whale frequently seen from locations along Highway 112, particularly in the summer and fall. Look and listen for their bushy, heart-shaped blows anytime you are near the water. Gray whales suction small shrimp and worms from the soft near-shore sediments, and can be seen working their way along the shorelines and in the bays on the entire length of the highway. Crescent Bay on the east end, and Seal and Sail Rocks on the west end are especially popular with gray whales.
In recent years humpback whales and Minke whales are also being seen more often on the Strait.
Watch for the "Whale Trail" informational signage along the highway. And as you watch for whales, you may see harbor seals or sea lions raise their heads out of the water to watch you! Visit one of the Whale Trail viewing sites along the Strait of Juan de Fuca Scenic Byway. Site locations include Freshwater Bay, Salt Creek Recreation Area, Sekiu Overlook and Shipwreck Point.