MARK HARRISON / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Renee Navarre and John Wayne are surprised by an up-close visit from a couple of gray whales Wednesday off Hat Island near Everett Wednesday afternoon. The migrating gray whales are annual visitors to Saratoga Passage, where they feed on sand shrimp. Monte Hughes, owner of the whale tour boat Mystic Sea out of Langley, said, "It has been a phenomenal gray whale season." Whale watchers must stay 100 yards away. But if the whale swims to them, they need to turn off their motors and allow the animals to pass.