95 Mile Round Trip Yields Orcas and Tons of Smiles

Anacortes:
We traveled about as far as we can go in a trip to watch 5 transient orcas today way down in Puget Sound!  We ended up getting back to the dock about 45 minutes late but everyone was so grateful that we went the extra miles to get the orcas!  Shortly after leaving the dock another boat spotted the transient orcas heading north from Point no Point, and we decided it was our best opportunity to find whales today.  We were hoping the orcas would travel a little faster northward but the incoming tide slowed them down much more than we expected.  The boat that found the whales left the scene about 45 minutes before we got into the zone so we had a serious search going on once we passed Bush Point.  A lot can happen in 45 minutes!!  A huge flock of gulls was in a feeding frenzy near Double Bluff and wouldn’t you know it, they were there because of the orcas.  Capt. Mike was the one to spot them after another whale watching boat passed them by in front of us.  It was obvious that they must have just made a kill as we were approaching and the gulls were feeding on the leftovers.  As we approached one of the orcas did a spyhop.  It was 5 orcas from the T46 pod.  T46, T122, T46D, T46E, and a young whale that wasn’t in our catalog from 2012.  They swam right for us to start things out and gave us great views.  After they finished off their meal the gulls lagged behind and the orcas finally started to travel northward with a little more conviction.  They swam in a very transient-like, zig-zag pattern while we paralleled them.  In 15 years of naturalizing trips from Anacortes I have never gone this deep into Puget Sound from that location.  It was well worth it because our passengers were so excited to see the killer whales.  We always love it when a plan comes together!  After a good visit with the transient orcas we headed back to the dock and spotted harbor porpoise, harbor seals, and bald eagles along the way.  Naturalist Bart Rulon

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