Orcas! Just minutes after departing the marina dock

Port Angeles.

Highlights:
*Transient Orcas within the Port Angeles Harbor, just outside the Boat Haven
*T49C hanging out with another T-Orca
*Humpback Whales, just west of the Rock Pile
*Transient Orcas on the hunt for a Ca. Sea Lion

(photo credit to Lee Leddy)

Trip Log
Weather was on our side as the rain stopped just before passengers boarded the Island Explorer 4. Crew members were just putting the lines away, after departing the dock, when Captain Dennis exclaimed “You Won’t Believe It! But we have already spotted wildlife”. Two dark dorsal fins were spotted just outside the PA Boat Haven entrance. A First! We stayed with the Orcas as they passed City Pier and headed out of the Port Angeles Bay area. After entering the open waters, the Orcas turned and made a bee-line towards the boat. Captain Dennis quickly put our engines in neutral and we enjoyed the close up sights of the transient Orcas going right under our boat. As the Orcas came up on our port side, views of the big Orcas dorsal was clearly in view. It didn’t take a zoomed in photo to see the two notches on the tall dorsal fin. The notches made it clear that we were seeing T49C, an Orca born in 1998 and typically seen traveling solo. Today T49C was traveling with another Orca, who remained anonymous.
After spending quite a bit of time with Orcas, we decided to say goodbye and make our way north into the Juan de Fuca Strait. We did not get far into the waters before a large splash caught our attention off our starboard side. We made the turn and headed that way. When we got in the area, we realized that there was more than one near by. We saw multiple exhalations and a few raised flukes.
As we watched the Humpbacks, Captain got a call about the Transient Orcas we had seen earlier. They were not too far from our current location. So, we made our way over to them. They had just reached the base of Dungeness Spit when we saw our Orca friends. Something had caught their attention, as they splashed and circled an area. We heard on the radio that they were chasing after a California Sea Lion. It seemed to take them awhile to hunt the sea lion, but we knew they were ultimately successful when the birds arrived to snag a free snack.
We made our way back to Ediz Hook and enjoyed the sights of Port Angeles.
~Tamara

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