In the shadow of snow-capped Mount Baker, Bellingham is a northern launching point for a wildlife adventure on the Salish Sea. Departing from the downtown waterfront, or picturesque Fairhaven Cruise Terminal, whale watching boats cruise out to view family groups of the resident salmon-eating killer whales and solitary minke whales. From time to time, nomadic mammal eating orcas will also pass through the area, as well as gray and humpback whales taking a scenic side trip during their coastal migration. Dall's and harbor porpoises play in the currents where the straits of this inland sea converge, and rocky reefs and shorelines are home to a large population of harbor seals. Huge Steller's sea lions spend part of their summers here, feasting on salmon.
Rhinoceros auklets, murres, pigeon guillemots and cormorants summer here, and sometimes shy tufted puffins are spotted too. Over it all soar bald eagles, occurring here in numbers second only Alaska.