Voyage of Redemption!!!

Port Angeles

Highlights:
Sun skies and flat calm waters
Many seabirds throughout the day
Two humpbacks, one mature with a calf
Most of JPod having a good time and swimming all around the boat and giving us an amazing show!!!

Naturalist Log

Any day after a fluke trip is difficult, pressure runs high and all thoughts are on redemption of the trip before. Whether the crew would be successful today or not was unclear as the radio waves were still and no information was coming in. Of course this isn’t to different than most any day and so the crew continued about their business preparing the boat and sweltering in the already high morning heat. With the sun high above, heating the earth like an oven, the crew finished their duties and began to board their guests. In no time at all the IE4 was off the dock and under way into the Salish sea and the unknown that lay ahead.

Once they rounded the hook captain Tom brought the engines up to full speed and turned north toward the many shallow banks that lay throughout the Straights of Juan de Fuca. Unfortunately the banks were calm and showed no signs of life, that is until the IE4 reached Constance bank where it found its first whales of the day. It turned out to be a mother humpback and her calf!!!! They were doing large circles in the area and decimating any bait bails that they came across!!! After some amazing looks it was time for the IE4 to move on to the east.

After some time and getting to explorer much of the souther banks of San Juan island and Lopez island the IE4 came across her second whales of the day. It was a very excited and playful JPod!!!! Minutes after arriving in scene at Colville island the whales suddenly made a direction change back to the east. As captain Tom began to adjust the IE4 into position Princess Angeline and Tahlequa both dove under the boat surfacing just on he other side and really getting the guests excited!!! Once they had moved off to a safe area captain Tom again began to maneuver the boat into a parallel position with the whales.

Suddenly a large group of orcas popped up just off the stern of the IE4 passing by the boat only a few yards away!!!! With all engines shut down the IE4 screamed with excitement as blow after blow could be heard with every whale that came up nearby. It was one of the most amazing passes the IE4 had ever seen. Soon the group was out ahead of the IE4 headed towards Lopez island but the thrills were not over. Two more orcas that were trailing the group appeared out of no where and again passed very close to the boat and the awestruck group of passengers on board.

During the show there was spy hopping and breaching going on periodically as the whales headed west. One of the bigger males even began to show some adult behaviors when he got into a group of females. This behavior only lasted a few minutes before it was made apparent that the female orcas weren’t interested. A few of the new calves were even spotted during the show bouncing around in some of the larger groups and having a grand ole time!!!! It truly was a spectacular show today and the close up looks the IE4 had will forever burn in the hearts of all those on board.

After that it was time to head home to Port Angeles and back to the realities of the outside world. The seas remained calm for much of the return trip as the sun slowly began to sink in the sky. Just outside of the Port Angeles harbor the guests were given one last adventure as some large rollers came in from the Pacific Ocean giving the IE4 an exciting roller coaster ride. It truly was an amazing day to be on the Salish sea and an even better one to be out whale watching!!!

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