The whales that almost weren’t!!!

Port Angeles

Highlights:
Lots of harbor seals from start to finish
Great looks at harbor porpoise throughout the day
Redneck Phalaropes south of Race rocks
T41’s west of Sooke inlet
Gorgeous weather and water the entire day

Naturalist log:

The morning started out perfect, with the sun shining bright the day had already begun to warm up substantially. With the heat increasing throughout the morning and not a cloud insight it was becoming very apparent that today would be a good day to get far from shore, and so with the Island Explorer 4 loaded down with guest and crew that’s exactly what captain Tom did. The engines roared to life as the IE4 smoothly pulled away from the dock and cruised out of the marina. The harbor sat near empty with only a lone tanker anchored out toward the end of Ediz hook. With a beautiful day sitting just around the hook captain Tom brought the Island Explorer 4 up to full speed and the journey had begun!!!!

Running north the IE4 cruised smoothly over calm waters and under sunny skies. The Olympic mountains rising high at her stearn and Mount Baker slowly showing its face through the light haze the lingered upon the horizon. Groups of birds were darting quickly under the surface after the days catch left and right and occasionally even a harbor porpoise was spotted swimming passed the IE4. It was truly turning into a magnificent day out on the water and soaking up the sun.

As the IE4 continued on large groups of Redneck Phalaropes began to appear!!! Zooming all around the surface of the water just inches away from crashing but flying with perfect presicion. Crossing the Canadian border and spotting many more seabirds such as common murres and pigeon guillemots the IE4 then turned west and headed out towards Beecher bay and Sooke inlet. The day had really warmed up by this time and a slight breeze danced through the air setting a perfect tempatures upon the water.

As the IE4 traveled it got many looks at harbor porpoise and many more seabirds. When it passed Sooke inlet some good news came in, orcas ahead being some what elusive, but let’s face it, it was time to see some whales.  Captain Tom put the hammer down and caught up with the whales just west of Sooke. After a brief couple viewings the whales took a long dive and it seemed like they had up and disappeared after 12 minutes had passed and no whales were seen. Then ahead of the IE4 the whales surfaced, it was the T41’s and two other unidentified whales.

At first the whales were being surface shy and not showing very often but as the show continued the whales settled in with the boats and magic began to take place. Three generations of orcas swimming just of the starboard side of the boat, T41,41A, and 41A1 giving the IE4 some great looks Unfortunately the whales were headed west and time was running short so after getting a lot of amazing views of the whales the had to turn back for home. It was a great day to be on e water and getting to see transient orcas was a huge bonus!!!!!

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