PORT ANGELES FIRST……DOLPHINS IN THE HARBOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PORT ANGELES

Highlights

Common Dolphins in PA Harbor!!!!!!!
Resident K Pod Orcas heading West
Race Rocks Lighthouse
Stellar and California Sea lions
Sea Otter
6 or more Humpbacks not far off Port Angeles
         

    The day was overcast and breezy but everyone was eager to see what we could find…and we didnt have long to wait!!!!  Harbor Seals were hauled out on the log floats trying to catch what little sun there was. We continued on checking out the harbor sights when  what should appear in front of us but about one dozen Common Dolphins….WOW what a find. Dolphins INSIDE the harbor!!!!!! Defintely a first and we watched as they milled around looking for food near the big conatiner ships moored in the harbor.  Eventually we decided it was time to look for some whales and as we left a few dolphins decided to surf in our wake for a bit before they went back to roaming the harbor!!!. What a rare and special treat that was.
    More Harbor Seal  were hauled out on Ediz Hook as we made our way into the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Reports came in of Humpbacks over by Race Rocks and we started to head that way when we received a call about some Orcas to our west. The seas were choppy but we caught up to the Orcas  a few miles past the Elwha River basin. They were heading due west and spread out  by miles but we did get some close up looks at  some of the Orcas even seeing some breaches in the distance and a few close up half breach half spyhop lunge through the waves giving us great views of the beautiful markings on the Orcas. It turns out they were members of our resident Orca clan , the fish eaters..specifically the K Pod. K14 Lea ,K26 Lobo and K22 Sekiu were able to be ID’d along with L92 Crewser..As they were pretty spread out we didn’t get to see  everyone so some remain anonymous.
    We  eventually left them to their westward journey and headed over to Race Rocks where we were in luck and got to see a Sea Otter wrapped up in the kelp bed not to far from  a large group of Harbor Seals Hauled out on the rocks. we could hear the California Sea Lions barking as they climbed over the rocks and some Stellar Sea Lions were sparring and we  could hear them growling at one another. Always a magical place when we are lucky enough to get to Race Rocks Ecological Preserve!
   The trip continued as we made our way back towards Port Angeles always on the lookout for more whales and we ran into Humpback soup not far off of Port Angeles. There were at least 6 humpbacks feeding some in the distance and  a few that made some close passes. Not all the Humpbacks could be identified since they weren’t  all diving deep and raising the massive flukes for us to see but  we  could ID  10 year old BCZ0298 Split Fin  with one tail  raised and by the unusual split dorsal fin. Also in the mix was BCY0324 Big Mama along with her new calf nicknamed Poptart. Split Fin is a 2006 calf of Big Mama’s and therefore Poptart’s older sibling.
   We said our goodbyes and headed back to  the dock not without one more last look at the Harbor Seals still lounging around  on Ediz Hook. What an incredibly wide variety of wildlife we saw today …a trip that won’t soon be forgotten.
Naturalist-Lee

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