The mouth of the Quillayute River is home to herring, smelt and crabs. Look for sea lions, seals and river otters in the channel, hunting their next meal. (The bird life here is also fantastic!)
During April and May, hundreds of migrating gray whales pass through the bay, feeding on the nutrient-rich sediments of First Beach. You might see them sharing the waves with surfers and seals. Each spring, the Quileute Tribal School hosts a ceremony to welcome the whales back to La Push.
Orcas regularly pass by, and often come right into the bay. Orcas and wolves play a central role in Quileute stories, songs and dances.
Once hunted to extinction, a small group of sea otters was transplanted to nearby James Island in 1970. From an initial size of 30, they have grown to a population of over 1,000. They rarely come ashore, but you may see them bobbing in the kelp.
A few miles offshore, the steep drop-off of the continental shelf creates an upwelling, which attracts many kinds of dolphins and whales. Humpbacks, fin whales and blue whales are increasingly seen in these waters.