Pete Hanke here. My wife Sherri and I have been operating whale watching tours with Puget Sound Express for more than 35 years, and in that time we have always endeavored to make your trip a lasting memory. In 1981, I started with my dad, Pete Sr., providing week-long sailing adventures in the Pacific Northwest aboard the 80ft schooner, Alcyone. Over the years, we moved from sailboats to powerboats, but always made sure the whale watching experience and the vessels were first rate. To that end, we continue to operate what we feel is the best whale watching company in the Pacific Northwest.
You will often find my wife Sherri in the office answering questions and solving problems. Don’t tell anyone, but she is definitely the brains behind the operation. Although she has threatened many times to get her own ‘Captains License,’ Sherri actually prefers the beach to the water and, truth be known, would probably rather be taking her horse out for a spin than a boat. Actually, the funny thing about us is that both Sherri and I grew up on farms driving tractors. How that translates into a whale watching business is still being researched.
Besides the two of us, we are blessed to have two adult children working along side us, taking a larger role in running the business. Christopher, who manages our vessels, graduated from college with a degree in Physics Engineering. Sarah, who how runs the business and crew operations, graduated with a degree in Business Management. Sherri and I are so very proud of them.
And even after all these years, the Hanke grandparents still play active roles ashore and on the water. Truly a blessing.
So it really is a family whale watch operation, and that aspect alone is something we take pride in, and love to share with you, our customers.
But our family also extends to the amazing and talented people who captain our boats, naturalize the wildlife, answer the phones, and maintain our boats. These professionals share our same commitment to excellent customer service, as well as a spirit of service and mindfulness towards our area’s wildlife and ecology.
Originally from: Sunnyside, WA
When did you start at PSE: I started PSE in 1985, by purchasing a small charter fishing and diving company called Calm Sea Charters.
Why whale watching: I ran a 42′ boat called the Calm Sea out of Point Hudson and we would do fishing and diving charters. On some of the diving charters we would see whales which would be very exciting for the divers. While running this business, dad and I were trying to start a passenger ferry from Seattle to Port Townsend and Friday Harbor. After several years we decided to bring Red Head from Port Angeles and begin day trips to Friday Harbor, as a scheduled run. Along the way we would see whales and decided it would be fun to add that as part of the trip. There were two other companies doing whale watching at the time.
Your favorite whale or whale experience: My favorite whale would be J1 Ruffles who died in 2010 at the age of 59 which is old for an adult male whale. We watched a birthing ceremony once where female killer whales tried to nurse a dead harbor porpoise fetus to life. Probably spent 45 minutes working on it with all the southern residents logging in position and watching.
Several great memories would be 1) Being the support boat for the movie “Hunt for Red October” when they were shooting it in Port Angeles, 2) Being the emergency ferry from Orcas landing to Shaw after the Elwah took out the Orcas ferry dock and 3) Being the emergency ferry from Port Townsend to Coupeville after the state condemned all the Klickitat ferry boats in the middle of winter. We routinely drove Glacier Spirit in 30 to 40 kt storms making that crossing and never missed one scheduled run over a two month stretch.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: I love to fly airplanes which started when I was a kid flying with my dad.
Originally from: Seattle, WA
When did you start at PSE: Before it was created, 😊. The name came from a trip to Palm Springs in the 80s. The City of Palm Springs had a marketing campaign: ” PS I love you” so, I thought “Pete and Sherri,” then “Puget Sound” etc..
Your favorite whale or whale experience: Not quite whales, but in the 80s it was the plethora of rabbits on San Juan Island and our guests’ favorite tour.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: Spending time at the lake, a tradition that started with my Dad.
Originally from: Chimacum, WA
When did you start at PSE: I started at PSE in 2002. Growing up I used to go out with my dad when he was driving the boat and watch for whales/help out on-board. Therefore at a young age I started working and helping the crew and naturalist out in the galley.
Why whale watching: Following in the family footsteps! My parents did tell my sister and myself to go work for other companies and business after college to see if this is what we wanted to do. After a couple years I quickly came back to what I loved and was familiar with.
Your favorite whale or whale experience: When I was young, we would often see resident orcas thriving. Drifting with them was a memorable experience
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: Spending time outside of work with my wife and kids. I also enjoy dirt bike riding!
Originally from: Chimacum, WA
When did you start at PSE: 2001, However I grew up going out with my dad on the full day whale watch to Friday Harbor. When I was really young I used to take naps on the downstairs bunks across from the restroom on the Glacier Spirit.
Why whale watching: Part of the family business 🙂 My folks did encourage my brother Christopher and I to go work for other businesses after college and we both did and then wanted to come back and be a part of the business our folks started.
Your favorite whale or whale experience: When I was young, watching resident orcas was my favorite experience. J1 Ruffles – who is now deceased – was my favorite whale. Today I enjoy a regular humpback, known in the community as “Two Spot.” This whale is SO unique and personable. Some jaw dropping personal, memorable experiences have happened with this animal.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: Riding horses, kayaking on the Hood Canal, hiking in the Olympics and playing with my dog Riley (you’ll often see her in the office with us).
Originally from: Port Townsend, WA
When did you start at PSE: I started the summer of 2022!
Why whale watching: I grew up surrounded by water and have always loved the ocean and everything in it. I went on my first whale watching excursion when I was little and it was so much fun. I figured getting into the business of whale watching would be a great way to surround myself with some of the things I love; nature and people!
Favorite whale or whale experience: When I was younger I was part of this boating camp where all the campers were taught the basics of boats and sailing. I vividly remember one day sitting out on a little dingy (meant to practice capsizing in) and a porpoise decided to breach the water right next to me. I probably could’ve touched it if I tried- it was that close to me. Almost right up against my boat. Pretty scary in the moment, but looking back on it I realize it was a pretty amazing experience.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: I’m currently a student at Western Washington University, so when I’m not working I’m usually studying up on topics that I find interesting. If you can’t find me reading, then I’m probably hanging out with my dog somewhere outdoors, or painting with my watercolors and acrylics.
Originally from: Kentucky is where I grew up and attended college.
When did you start for PSE: Officially, my first year was in 2005 on a part time basis, but in 2016 I switched to more of a full-time.
Why whale watching? Because whales are awesome. I have been a wildlife fan my whole life, and ever since I was a kid whales were right up there with the likes of tigers, lions, leopards, and cheetahs. Growing up all those animals seemed so exotic, and now its amazing to be able to see the whales on a daily basis!
Your favorite whale or whale experience: That’s a tough question because I’ve had so many great experiences with whales over the years, but my first experience with killer whales was definitely one of the best because it was so new. It was during a kayak trip where I circumnavigating the San Juan Islands with two of my best travel buddies. During the 8-9 day adventure we spent 2 days on the west side of San Juan Island kayaking with J-pod orcas. During those two days I had a big male orca turn around and swim right towards me and then under my kayak! My heart was in my throat. We camped right next to the water and in the still of the night I could hear the loud exhalation blows of J-pod as they swam towards us in the distance. I woke up my two friends and we watched all of J-pod swim right by us in a tight group (probably sleeping) lit up by the full moon reflecting off the water! It was magic and that image is etched in my mind forever. After that trip I knew I needed to spend more time with the orcas, and it eventually led to more kayak trips photographing the whales and becoming a naturalist.
What do you enjoy outside of work: Fishing has been one of my passions ever since I was about 10-11 years old. I like fishing for just about any fish that fights hard, but salmon, steelhead, and smallmouth bass are some of my favorites. I especially love fishing on rivers and streams with my drift boat or a canoe and camping at the water’s edge along the way. The more remote the better! Wildlife art and photography is also a passion of mine that I’ve been making a living at ever since I was in college! It doesn’t seem much like work when you can make a living at the stuff you do for fun! I feel very lucky. Traveling to see wildlife around the world has been a big part of that passion and I’ve visited Africa, India, South America, Alaska, and Costa Rica on long wildlife adventures. You can see my work at www.bartrulon.com.
Originally from: Mukilteo,WA
When did you start with PSE: Summer of 2022
Why whale watching: I grew up on the Puget Sound and absolutely love everything it has to offer, including the whales and all the other cool wildlife you get to see. Each day on the water you never know what you’re going to see!!
Favorite whale watching experience: Watching Kata a humpback whale fully breach right in front of me near Discovery Bay.
What do enjoy doing outside of work: Outside of work I enjoy hunting, fishing, skiing and have just recently taken up flying and have almost finished my private pilot’s license.
Originally from: Born in Kirkland, WA; lived in Alaska; raised in Port Townsend.
When did you start at PSE: 2016.
Why whale watching: At the time I just wanted to be working on the water again. I also love wildlife so it works out.
Your favorite whale or whale experience: Pretty big fan of Two Spot, and the T65As – they have always been pretty good to me.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: More boating – it seems to be my happy place.
Originally from: Port Angeles, Washington
When did you start at PSE: Spring 2023
Why whale watching: I’ve always been interested in marine life and the ocean and I was quick to apply when I heard about a job opportunity.
Your favorite whale or whale experience: My favorite whale experience would have to be watching a pod of orcas on the roof of GS right outside Victoria with a glass sea and clouded sunset. The colors and whales mixed with peoples reactions are memories I will never forget.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: Outside of work I like to lift weights and spend time outside.
Originally from: Quilcene, WA
When did you start at PSE: April of 2015
Why whale watching: It is a wonderful way to spend time with wildlife and work with my best friends.
Your favorite whale or whale experience: The time I saw a humpback whale fighting a strong current under Deception pass bridge and start breaching while directly under the bridge. That kind of stuff sticks with you.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: Cooking. We were raised in a cooking household with parents that encouraged us to play in the kitchen and have fun with it.
Originally from: Milford, Delaware
When did you start at PSE: Spring 2019
Why whale watching: Got into whale watching on a whim applying to a naturalist job in Hawai’i. Fell in love with the whales but stayed in the industry to watch people experience whale watching for the first time.
Your favorite whale or whale experience: My favorite whale watching experience is a three way tie: witnessing two competing male humpbacks chest bump each other completely out of the water in Hawai’i. Seeing an orca family hunt a baby humpback in Alaska. Most recently, I’ve been lucky enough to be aboard the only boat on scene with a group of southern resident orcas on a glassy calm evening. Most people on board that day had never seen a killer whale, let alone the most endangered eco type and it was just a very serene and special experience.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: My current hobby is raising and training my not-so-little puppy, Peach, who we adopted in October 2021. If I’m not playing with Peach, I’m playing music or board games with my friends and family which are hobbies I’ve had for almost my whole life.
Originally from: Edmonds, WA
When did you start at PSE: Spring of 2019.
Why whale watching: I chose whale watching (maybe it chose me) because I have always had a passion for marine life and love to share it with others. Working for PSE and getting the opportunity to spend my days out on the water, observing whales and other marine life have been some of the most memorable days of my life. There is something so special about whales, massive and beautiful in size but so unique and relatable, you never know what you might see when out whale watching, and it’s safe to say no two days are the same. Each day I get to go whale watching is another one of the best days I have ever had.
Your favorite whale or whale experience? My favorite whale watching experience is probably watching a humpback whale named Two Spot. If you ever get the opportunity to see this whale you will understand what I am saying. This humpback whale has the most personality I have ever seen. He has emotion and you can see it. You literally feel connected with him on a level you can’t even explain. Watching him you get this feeling that he is enjoying the time with you just as much as you are with him.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: I enjoy absolutely anything and everything under the sun, from mountain tops hiking or the ocean floor scuba diving. You can count me in. I have been this way my whole life and would say I’m addicted to adventuring, especially if it includes the ocean.
Originally from: Everett Washington
When did you start at PSE: I started in 2022, and can’t wait to be part of the crew!
Why Whale Watching: My whole life I have had a fascination with the ocean and our local wildlife in western Washington, being out on the water, or out in our beautiful forests and parks has always felt like home to me!
Your Favorite whale or whale experience: My favorite whale experience has to be the first time I ever went out on a whale watching boat, I was 7 and in British Columbia, visiting my grandparents. I remember being scared of the boat at first, and being nervous to see an orca for the first time as I didn’t really understand them for the beautiful animals they are. I remember a pod surfaced next to us, and immediately my anxiety was replaced with wonder as I watched the calf play and jump through the water! Ever since then I have been fascinated with not just the ocean, but the beauty and intelligence of all the life that lives below its surface!
What do you enjoy doing out of work?: I love anything involving the outdoors , Any time I have out of school I’m either on my mountain bike, or finding new and fun places to hike and camp in this beautiful state! Recently I bought a camera and have taken up photography as a hobby, one of my favorite things to do is go into Edmonds and use photography to try and capture the beauty of our town and the water we’re lucky enough to have close to us!
Originally from: Port Townsend, WA
When did you start at PSE: May 2023
Why whale watching: I love being out on the water and love watching whales. When the chance came to do it as a job I was so happy!
Your favorite whale or whale experience: Went out with my dad and saw an Orca breach right in front of the Seattle Ferris Wheel. It was beautiful and sparked my love for whales! More recently I had a humpback whale come right up to the swimstep of the boat and sit at the surface checking us out.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: When I’m not working I’m usually working with my horse Charlie. If I’m not at the barn then I can be found curled up in my beanbag reading a book or hanging with my friends.
Originally from: Victoria, TX
When did you start at PSE: Summer 2022.
Why whale watching: It has to be the best job on the Olympic Peninsula.
Your favorite whale or whale experience: Post-hunt synchronized orca breaching.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: Cycling, sailing, classical piano, and scrap metal sculpture, to the chagrin of my landlord.
Originally from: DeKalb IL and Vikersund Norway
Started at PSE: March 2022
Why whale watching: Have been doing it professionally since 2000 in Hawaii and Alaska and Baja Mexico.
Favorite whale watching experience: Watching 3 brown bear on top of a dead Humpback in Glacier Bay NP getting swept out to sea in a full moon high tide.
strong>What do you enjoy doing outside of work: I enjoy my farm in Sequim growing hops and wildflowers and following in the footsteps of my families legacy in agriculture.
Originally from: Salt Lake City, Utah
When did you start: June 1, 2022
Why whale watching: I have been enraptured by the ocean since a toddler. There is a video of me when I was 6 where I was explaining to my mom that when I grew up I wanted to be “a person who studies the animals in the ocean and the sea”. Growing up in Utah, I sought every opportunity to connect with ocean and ocean-life, driving to a second high school to take a marine biology class and working at our local aquarium. I then had the opportunity to move to Seattle and complete a degree at the UW in ‘Aquatic and Fishery Sciences’ and ‘Marine Biology’ where I loved every minute of it and took every opportunity to be on a boat that I could. Being able to work in the whale watching industry combines my passion for the ocean and its life with the enjoyment I get in involving people in environmental education and conservation. It’s a fantastic opportunity that I am grateful to be a part of and I understand while some people choose to make this their career.
Favorite whale watching experience: Back in 2019 I was training to be a naturalist for the 2020 season with Western Prince from San Juan Island. We found one of the Bigg’s families (mom with two sons and mom’s sister/aunt?). They were a bit far out and dove. The lead naturalist was explaining the distance rules we keep around whales as we were putting along then the family popped up right in front of the boat, so we had to cut the engine. They stayed near us for a while where I was able to get some great photos, even on my iPhone camera. The family had just eaten so they then lounged around near the surface and we were able to stay and watch them for a solid hour before the captain had us move on to the wildlife around Spieden Island where a young humpback took us by surprise and also surfaced close to the boat.
What I enjoy outside of work is: Hiking, horse back riding, boxing, ballroom/swing dancing, soccer, and just whatever adventures I can find.
Originally from: Port Angeles, WA
When did you start at PSE: Summer 2023
Why whale watching: I’ve always loved wildlife, especially marine wildlife. I’m going to school for an environmental science degree and so I wanted to try this job out and it has been such a fulfilling experience so far. I vividly remember the feeling of seeing my first whale last year, so I wanted to help in giving that experience to other people as well!
Your favorite whale or whale experience: My favorite whale watching experience was seeing a humpback named Stitch breach a couple of times for us as the sun was starting to set. It was just like out of a movie!
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: I love lake days with family and/or friends at Lake Crescent here in the Olympic National Park and just being outside in general. I feel very lucky to have the park right in my backyard.
Originally from: Mukilteo WA
When did you start at PSE: May 2023
Why whale watching: Well, I’ve only been whale watch a few times since I work in the office! But there is nothing I enjoy more than being on the water and watching wildlife.
Your favorite whale or whale experience: I saw a humpback come right up to the boat near Deception Pass. It’s so amazing to see these massive whales up close. They are so majestic.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: I love to be outdoors, I snow ski, tour, hike, camp, backpack, paddle board, boat, wakeboard, and garden. When I’m not outside I’m painting with my watercolors or doing something creative!
Originally from: Port Townsend, WA
When did you start at PSE: Summer 2023
Why whale watching: Growing up in Port Townsend, I have always loved being on and around the water. I love this place more than anywhere else in the world, and being able to help other people experience and enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Northwest is such a dream.
Your favorite whale or whale experience: I don’t have a specific whale that is my favorite, but Orcas have my whole heart. They are such beautiful animals, and no matter how many times I see them in the wild, I always think they are breathtaking.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: When not studying for my B.S. in Engineering, I’m studying and deepening my love for ballet. I also mentor a local FIRST Robotics Competition team and compete in NHRL, a competitive, battle-bot style, robotics league. This past year I discovered a new love for the sport of Sabre Fencing, and whenever I can, I always enjoy some time out on the water sailing with friends.
Originally from: I am originally from Longview, WA, a town that is on the Columbia River and six feet below sea level even though it is eighty miles upstream.
When did you start at PSE: I started working for PSE in 2018 after moving from Orcas Island with my wife.
Why whale watching: I have always been drawn to the water and have a deep love for it and the animals within it. After I had cruised through the San Juan Islands, I felt the immense beauty and power of the water coursing around them.
Your favorite whale or whale experience: One of my favorite whale experiences was with a young Orca from J pod. His name was Nerko and he was a two year old full of exuberance. This was back when the residents had plenty to eat, so they would often engage with some of the boats after they were full. We would shut down our engines and drift quietly watching the pods socialize and feed. Nerko would swim over to our boat just under the surface so you could see his whole body. Once he got to the stern, he would roll on his side, swim parallel along the hull and wave his pectoral fin at the guests along the rail!! (The pectoral fin is near the head and is similar to our arm and hand)
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: Our hobbies all seem to involve something with water. We often talk about hiking in the mountains, but more often end up on a beach. We also have two kayaks, two stand up paddle boards and a 14 foot sailboat, so there is a pretty easy way to access anything that has liquid on or around it. To our credit, we have been known to go bike riding, snowshoeing and skiing.
Originally from: Charlotte, NC
When did you start at PSE: May 2022
Why whale watching: Animals have been my passion since I was a little kid. I grew up riding horses, worked at a raptor rehabilitation center in college, and handled snakes and alligators as a state park employee in Arkansas. So when my husband and I moved to Port Angeles in spring 2019, I looked for job that would put me closest to this region’s coolest wildlife…whales!
Your favorite whale or whale experience: It was a foggy August day in 2020 when I was working for Island Adventures, and the only whale we had seen in 3 hours was a VERY sneaky lone humpback in the middle of a fog bank. We only got a few quick glances before he disappeared. As we headed back toward the dock slightly defeated, who should we stumble across, but a large group of Bigg’s killer whales, right near the entrance to Port Angeles harbor! We had two well-known families there, the T65As and the T137s. After a few minutes on scene, they turned toward us. We quickly shut off the engines, and all of a sudden two of the group swam directly under the stern and popped up right at the bow, surprising everyone at both ends of the boat! After that, the young ones in the pod started playing around, tail lobbing, cartwheeling and swimming upside down. It was an incredible encounter, and a good reminder of why we never stop searching until we get back on dry land.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: Birding! One of the favorite things is to visit a new place, and find birds I’ve never seen before. And while I would not consider myself anything of a photographer, I do take a lot of bird pictures and hope to get better with practice. In addition, I got really into houseplants and gardening over the last couple years (as did many of us) by working at a local garden center during the pandemic. I also love walking Ediz Hook with my dog, Molly (seen here!).
Originally from: Port Townsend, WA
When did you start at PSE:The summer of 2022
Why whale watching: I’m on the high school sailing team and I love being on the water. I think it’s really important that we protect our marine ecosystems and by teaching visitors about whales, we can make sure more people share a love for the ocean. I also have memories of going on multiple tours with PSE with my family when I was little, and we still talk about them today!
Your favorite whale or whale experience: Not my experience, but my family member’s: An orca poked its head out of the water right next to the boat! I could’ve barely reached my hand out to touch it, but I was too shocked.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: I love being outside, especially when I’m planting things. I’m passionate about environmental sustainability. I’m on the high school sailing team, swim team (and hopefully the wrestling team next year too!). The environment of both of the teams are very positive and I love to be around those people. I like hanging out with my friends and doing art as well.
Originally from: Port Orchard, WA and Port Ludlow for last 25 years
When did you start at PSE: Spring of 2023
Why whale watching: When my girls were in girl scouts, I had the opportunity to enjoy adventures on PSE voyages. When the opportunity to be a part of PSE team came along, I couldn’t miss it!
Favorite whale or whale experience: During a recent trip we had the opportunity to observe a group of Bigg’s Orcas hunt a sea lion. It was exciting and terrible and amazing all at the same time. Sometimes we forget these majestic animals have to eat. Also, I enjoy observing the unique Tufted Puffins.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: I’m an avid quilter and enjoy making custom quilts. The whales brought me a great new subject matter. I also love to travel and take on new adventures. A big shout out to my favorite thing outside of work, my grandson Jude!
Originally from: Edmonds, WA
When did you start with PSE: December 2020
Why whale watching: After 12 years commercial fishing in Alaska I’ve seen many whales. It never ever gets old and I love sharing the experience with others!
Favorite whale watching experience: Although I’ve seen whales in Alaska my whale watching experience grew onboard with PSE. We followed a hunt among a pod of transit orcas. It was incredible to witness, but seeing the matriarch orcas take a true rest after the hunt resonated so much with me. I was moved and could relate!
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: Sport fishing, I love fishing the saltwater and am trying to learn river fishing tactics. Also enjoy camping and primitive survival skills. So much fun!
Originally from: Edmonds, WA
When did you start with PSE: I started working at Puget Sound Express (PSE) in the spring of 2018 as an intern working with Cascadia Reaearch collecting data on gray whales feeding behaviors. Once I finished my internship and graduated from Western Washington University I started to work as crew! Then worked my way up to naturalist and looking at maybe driving boats one day
Why whale watching: The reason I love whale watching is of course seeing the whales and all the amazing wildlife in the area. I also enjoy never knowing what the next day will bring. As much as I love great whale days I also love stormy rough days – things get pretty exciting.
Favorite whale watching experience: My favorite whale experience would have to be when I saw some transient orcas chasing a minke whale. They were all porpoising and swimming at about 18 knots. Don’t worry – the orcas gave up and the minke got away.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: Outside of work I scuba dive, paddle board, rock climb, hike and the list goes on. I am also a protected species observer which is a lot like whale watching, I go out on ships offshore and help protect our marine mammals!
Originally from: Chimacum, WA
When did you start at PSE: On my birthday in 2012.
Why whale watching: I had graduated college and wasn’t in a hurry to figure out what I wanted to do after, so when Pete and Sherri offered me a job, I took it. And I never left!
Favorite whale or whale experience: I’m not sure i have a particular favorite whale but one of the best times I can remember on a tour was sitting on the rooftop of the Redhead with Christopher L. watching humpback whales try to fly.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: Riding dirt bikes with Christopher H.
Originally from: Edmonds, WA
When did you start at PSE: 2016
Why whale watching: I grew up on the water & some of my fondest childhood memories are boating around the San Juan Islands and fishing with my dad in Puget Sound. I’ve always had a passion for animals, wildlife and the outdoors. I remember loving marine biology as a kid — but ended up pursuing other interests in my professional life. Shortly after moving to the Olympic Peninsula, I had the opportunity to join PSE for the 2016 whale watching season. It was an amazing full-circle moment for me. Being able to work in a field that combines my love for the outdoors and wildlife is such a gift. And having the opportunity to share it with our passengers every day is truly a joy!
Favorite whale or whale watching experience: This is such a difficult one to answer! We get to see so many amazing things- it’s really hard to pick a favorite. But here are 2 that stick out in my mind: During my first season with PSE we witnessed a greeting ceremony among the Southern Resident Killer Whales in Rosario Strait. They were so happy and excited to see each other! They were breaching, spy hopping, vocalizing & just generally frolicking around with each other for over an hour. It was a magical thing to witness!
The second experience was with a humpback whale named “Two Spot” who is famous for mugging our boats. We were literally 5 minutes off the dock on the first day of a 3-day trip when we encountered Two Spot & he gave our passengers quite a show. He swam under & beside the boat numerous times, rubbed against us, waved his pec fins in the air & gave an exhalation blow to many in our group. Needless to say, it set the bar pretty high for that trip!!
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: In the summer months, I love being outdoors…. kayaking, hiking, gardening & scouring our local beaches for sea glass. During the winter I enjoy cooking and baking, spending time with family and friends, and sitting by a big fire with a good book and a kitty on my lap!
When did you start at PSE: I started working at PSE the summer of 2022, working in the office and transitioned over to the boat this year!
Why whale watching: I chose whale watching because I love how people’s eyes light up the first time they see a whale. Whether it’s an older person or a toddler their reactions are all the same! I also love how elegant whales are.
Your favorite whale or whale experience: My favorite whale experience was definitely the first time my family saw a whale; the way my sister screamed with excitement and how my father’s face was filled with a smile! My favorite whale is an orca!
What do you enjoy doing outside of work: Outside of work I competitively swim and wrestle. I absolutely love both sports but wrestling has my heart a bit more! Other than sports I have four siblings I enjoy spending time with and I also love volunteering with kids at schools and on sports teams!