4 Gray whales, 531, 49, 723, and 383
A California sea lion, and a bald eagle
We got things started off today with a bald eagle posed perfectly with the Olympic Mountains behind him as a backdrop on Jetty Island. A Sleepy California sea lion followed that up on a buoy at the end of Jetty island.
A passenger spotted our first whale of the day today!! Nice work! Gray whale 531 was in a spot we don’t normally see whales in, just south of the naval station. She gave us plenty of great views as she raised her tail flukes preceding deep dives. Capt. Carl spotted Patch, #49 not too far away, so we cruised over to give him a good look. We haven’t seen Patch in a few days so it was good to know he was still around. He was only surfacing once before his deep dives so we decided to head southward to look for more. Just south of the Whidbey Island ferry lanes there were two gray whales swimming southward. It was 723, and 383. A Cascadia Research zodiac was following them because they had deployed a suction cup tag equipped with a video camera on the back of 723.
John Calambokidis, a whale researcher with Cascadia Research Collective, came over with his colleagues and greeted our passengers to tell them about some of the research they are doing with these gray whales. Through, the videos they are finding that the gray whales in this area are mostly feeding in the shallows at high tide on the sand shrimp. In deeper waters the gray whales don’t seem to be feeding, but rather socializing and resting at those times. So far the research is reemphasizing just how important the sand shrimp are to these gray whales that visit us in the spring! Thanks for coming over to talk with us John!
After we left the gray whale duo we decided to head back toward Hat Island to check out 531 one more time. She gave us a great finale as she continued to lift her tail flukes in the air for us again at the very end! Naturalist Bart Rulon