Officially Summer Whales: Humpbacks and Orcas

Port Angeles.
Highlights:
*Humpback Whales showing off Flukes. Individuals included BCX1068 “Split Fluke” swimming close by an unidentified individual.
*Resident Orcas from the J pod and K pod. Some individuals seen included J27 “Blackberry”, K35 “Sonata”, K21 “Cappuccino”
*Harbor Porpoise easily spotted thanks to the calm seas.
*A Bald Eagle soaring in the skies near Discovery Island.

Naturalist Log:
We could not have asked for better skies or better seas on this Father’s Day/Summer Solstice combo celebration day. The flat water surface allowed all passengers to easily spot the backs of Harbor Porpoise surfacing shortly after we passed the tip of Ediz Hook. We continued heading North towards the San Juan Islands. Then off in the distance in the Eastern direction, plumes of mist were spotted. Captain Scott quickly turned the boat and headed towards the whales. It was 2 humpback whales and they were showing off their Flukes! One of the whales was easily recognized as BCX1068 “Split Fluke” thanks to the distinctive notch on its flukes. The swimming companion of Split Fin’s identity is yet to be confirmed. Possibly a new individual for our database. We enjoyed the many views that both humpbacks offered us. Thanks to great communication among boat travelers, Captain Scott received news that Orcas were in the area. We all agreed to make the way across the Juan de Fuca Strait and say goodbye to our Humpbacks. We were back to traveling Northward. As we approached the Discovery Island area, it seemed that Harbor Porpoise were everywhere. While we were enjoying watching the Harbor Porpoise swim passed the Island Explorer 4, a large wingspan was noticed in the sky. The white head and tail confirmed that large wingspan belonged to a Bald Eagle! We passed Discovery Island towards the Southwestern side of San Juan Island. It didn’t take long before the tall dark dorsal fins were spotted in the distance. It was Resident Orcas from J-Pod and K-Pod spread out; it looked like fins and exhalations could be seen in just about every direction. Nearby, a very tall dorsal fin grabbed our attention. It was J27 “Blackberry”. As he swam closely, he found a playbuddy- looked like K35 “Sonata”. J27″Blackberry” and K35″Sonata” put on quite the show with rolls, fluke slapping and a spy hop. After their playtime was over, J27 “Blackberry” turned towards the Island Explorer 4. He ended up traveling below our boat and surfacing on the other side of us. What a great look! In the distance, close to the San Juan Island shoreline, a small breach was seen by some lucky passengers. Could it have been one of the new calfs of J-Pod, J51? We said goodbye to Blackberry and followed the direction that K35″Sonata” headed. That leads us to find K21″Cappuccino”. We enjoyed our views of Cappuccino along with the many Orcas exhaling in the distance. Luckily, no one got “whale-whiplash” looking all around the boat at the whales in the distance along with the great views close by. After spending more than half an hour with the Orcas, it was time to make our way back across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and back to Port Anglees. Today’s wildlife viewing was definitely a great way for families to celebrate Father’s Day and the official beginning of the Summer season.
~Tamara

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