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Anacortes

Trip Highlights
*L-pod orcas feeding
*2 humpback whales
*Hundreds of seals, harbor porpoise, common murres, pigeon guillemots, red-necked phalaropes, surf scoters, harlequin ducks, and cormorants

We had a rain squall while we were getting the boat ready today, but the sun broke out right before we got our passengers on the boat and it lasted for most of our trip.  The rain shadow phenomenon from the Olympic Mountains  helped us out quite a bit today!  We started out by heading south and made our first stop at Colville Island to check out a bunch of harbor seals.  Next we headed offshore of Salmon Bank where L-pod orcas were spread out and hunting for salmon.  The first orca we spent time with was L22, Spirit.  She swam right over toward us and gave us a great first view as she circled around chasing salmon.  Next we spotted L85, Mystery, so we turned around and spent some time with him too.  He was also chasing salmon, and he really put on the afterburners on one occasion in hot pursuit of a fish!  He came shooting out of the water and probably caught his prize at that moment, because he immediately slowed down to a crawl afterward!  At that point L41, Mega, swam in and we spent some time with him before Spirit swam in and they crossed paths right in front of us.

After a good hour with the orcas we decided to head a little further offshore where two humpback whales were surfacing.  It was Splitfin, BCZ0298, and another whale swimming side by side.  Shortly after we arrived splitfin raised its tail flukes for us!  These two whales swam side by side while we watched them go.  After a while they aimed toward where the orcas were and L25, Ocean Sun, came swimming over right in front of them.  We got a couple of good views of her right before we said goodbye to the whales in search of more.  Next we aimed toward Smith and Minor Islands where we spotted hundreds of harbor seals hauled out on the beach packed in like sardines, and one Steller sea lion swimming around.  What a great trip!  Naturalist Bart Rulon

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