When we started our day, little did we know that one of the best trips of this early season was to be had! Although when you think about it, we always expect a great trip because the unexpected can always pop up around the next corner. And the excitement of visiting an ever-changing environment and the animals that roam through these waters is also always present. This never, ever gets old for us! We know our sheer joy in showing off something spectacular is also infectious, and we love to share those moments with our guests-that is what makes us the best!
On to the trip:
We traveled north today and found two gray whales near Gedney Island. These were whales #21 and #53 Little Patch. Along the way we spotted several bald eagles in the area, some soaring overhead and one perched on an old piling at Jetty Island. We had sun for the majority of our tour, with intense dark gray clouds in direct contrast surrounding us. #21 went on some epic deep dives and he and Little Patch made a turn and we moved on to look for more. Capt. Carl’s wife, Naomi, spotted more exhalations further north into Port Susan and we closed the gap. At first we thought we had three gray whales traveling our way, but it turned into four. #22, #383, #56, and #49 Patch were in a tight group and hugging the Camano Island shoreline, moving fast! The dark waters they swam in as a result of being so close to shore were a beautiful backdrop, and we saw several deep dives accompanied with tail flukes exposed! They rounded the corner at Camano Head, stalled out, and one of the coolest events I have witnessed in nine years with these animals ensued. They began to roll over each other in shallow waters in what looked to be some very aggressive foraging behaviors that quickly became a frantic feeding frenzy! Pectoral fins and tails were spotted as the whales turned on their sides to dig into the mud and feast on ghost shrimp. The action was intense with whales getting pushed to the surface by other whales, exposing much more of their bodies than we are used to seeing. At times we could see all four animals at once, both above and below the water line as the non-stop eating endeavor continued. To be honest, it was very hard to tell if this was an example of cooperative feeding or a competitive race for food, as we have not seen anything quite like it in such shallow conditions. This lasted for quite some time, with hoots and hollers from the boat encouraging the incredible display to continue. Eventually the whales all turned north into Saratoga Passage, leaving us exhausted and with the memories of one of the coolest sightings we have seen! What a day!
-Captain and Naturalist Michael Colahan
Contact me here for those that were interested in photos from the day!