Hump day!!!!!!

Port Angeles

Highlights:
Lots of harbor porpoise
2 humpbacks north of rockpile
Elephant seal at Race rock
Sea otter at helicopter rock
Steller and California sea lions at Race rocks
Humpback MMY0004 on return trip

Naturalist log:

With rain in the forecast and dark clouds to the west it was unsure what the day would bring. Even with blue skies all around there was no telling when the storm would hit but, as per usual, the crew continued on with the morning preparing the Island Explorer 4. The sun occasionally showed itself as the morning went on, warming the day and painting some beautiful colors across the Straight of Juan de Fuca. With all the passengers on board the IE4 got off the dock, made her way through the harbor and began her search for whales.

After rounding the end of the hook the Island Explorer 4 headed west briefly before adjusting North toward an area called the rock pile. The pile lay desolate with no whales or birds around so the IE4 continued on. This time it headed west toward Race rocks, which paid off as the first whales of the day were found. It was two humpbacks and they were swimming together zigging and zagging. They gave the IE4 some great looks, even surfacing in unison, as if they were synchronized swimmers. After some time getting good looks the IE4 branched of in search of more animals to the west.

Slowly approaching race rocks the Island Explorer 4 instantly began seeing lots of wildlife. Dozens of Steller sea lions lined the rocks and the loud barking of California sea lions echoed across the water. As the IE4 got between the rocks a foul ordered washed over the boat, as it usually does in this spot. While searching the shores an elephant seal was spotted napping on the race rocks boat launch, it was absolutely gigantic. With that the IE4 continued on but didn’t have to go far. Just off Helicopter rocks the IE4 spotted a sea otter. It was floating on its back in some bull kelp and checking the IE4 out occasionally as it passed. The wildlife at the light was just stunning and even the water around the island seemed calm.

Leaving Race rocks the passengers said goodbye to the wildlife and the boat continued on. After crossing the U.S. border the IE4 came on scene with its third whale of the day. It was humpback MMY0004, swimming slowly and doing what looked like sleeping. It wasn’t taking long dives at all and was being some what more predictable than other Humpback. The humpback gave the boat some amazing passes and looks before it ventured off and the IE4 had to return to the dock. It was a beautiful day all day, water was glass calm and the sun was bright and warm all day long!!!! Perfect day to be in the Strait of Juan de Fuca!!!!

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