Orca Party: Part 2!!!!!

Anacortes

The orcas had no shortage of energy today as they awoke from their nap and began to put on a show for the ages!!!

Highlights:

A large group of deer just outside Cap Sante
Multiple mature bald eagles all around
Harbor seals hauled out in multiple locations
J,K, and Lpod along the western shore of San Juan island

Naturalist log

As the IE3 left the dock this morning the wildlife started out fast and furious, with a large group of black tail deer taking advantage of the low tide this morning. They slowly strolled along the exposed rocky shoreline looking up occasional at the IE3 as it passed. Two small fawns followed their mother up in the grassy lawn of an Anacortes home where they stopped for a rest and the boat was able to get some amazing looks. Suddenly a mature bald eagle came soaring in overhead making its way over the trees toward the city of Anacortes!!!!

As the IE3 exited Guemes channel and entered into Rosario strait a slight roll began to come in from the south. With that captain Carl aimed the IE3 west into the heart of the San Juan islands and the protected waters that lay inside. A Washington state ferry passed by as the IE3 entered into Thatcher pass and was joined by a turkey vulture and 2 more bald eagles. This was a good sign and as sea birds like the rhinoceros auklet and the pigeon guillemot dove deep for their morning meals guests began to head into the galley to enjoy Eli’s good cooking.

The IE3 made a nice slow up through Pole pass where it got good views at a great blue heron that was hunting in the now shallow waters off of Orcas island. The sun was high no, the waters were calm and so the IE3 pushed further west in search of glory. As it got to Battleship island another eagle was spotted perched in a  tree near a large nest!!! Dozens of harbor seals were also seen just off the port side basking in the days warm sunny rays!!!!

Captain Carl continued to drive the IE3 south where it was joined up by a large group of Kpod whales. At first the whales were spread out but as the IE3 got on scene the whales grouped tightly together and went into what seemed like a resting pattern. Multiple fins rising high out of the water together was certainly a sight to see as you could feel the true majesty of these animals. The Kpod group was south bound and so was the IE3 when a large group of whales was spotted ahead and the excitement began to build!!!!

Who were these whales and what was going to happen when these groups met? Well it turned out to be Jpod and at first the two separate groups were oblivious to each other. Suddenly something triggered a young Jpod calf to get excited. In the distance a whale spy hopped high above the water to spot the still south bound Kpod and as soon as it did the fun had begun!!!! Multiple whales breached and some even began to porpoise toward Kpod in order to catch them. As this happened a few of the elder females in the group began to slap their flukes at the surface, trying to quill the upcoming surge of baby orca energy, but it was too late!!!!

Soon whales were breaching and spy hopping left and right, and it was becoming difficult to track where the action would happen next. The whales were definitely happy to see the IE3 and the magnificent people who were on board!!!! As the whales neared Lime Kiln lighthouse though distance was extended due to regulations and agreements with the light house and park area. That made no difference as the whales continued to party and to wave goodbye as the IE3 had to depart, but that did not mean the show was over.

As the IE3 reached False bay captain Carl spotted another couple of whales, it was a few members of Lpod out fishing in a very fast flowing current line!!!! We had some brief looks at these whales as time was already short from the previous show and once again we departed scene headed east. The seas had begun to pick up but it meant nothing to the hardy group onboard the IE3, some folks were even riding out the waves on the bow and taking the occasional salt bath!!!!

It was truly an amazing day packed full of wildlife the entire trip, one that won’t be soon forgotten!!!!

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