Tankers and Pilot boats
Amazing Rainshadow effect out in the Straits
4 new Humpback Whales
breaches,tail lobs and caudal peduncle throws
Another windy day with a west wind blowing meaning we would have to look hard to find our whales. Our guests were eager to see whales with many first time whale watchers aboard . We entered the harbor and got great looks at all the tankers moored there . The pilot boat was heading out to retrieve a pilot from an outgoing tanker as we made a way into the Straits of Juan de Fuca. We started out with a northwest angle trying to keep the seas comfortable for our hardy group. The Olympic Mountains were enveloped in a cloud cover but the deeper into the straits we went blue skies started to emerge. Tankers cruised through the freighter lanes as we dodged their huge wakes.
We received a call of possible whales a long ways off so we decided to make a course change and aim in a northeasterly direction. Not long after our course change exhalations were spotted in the distance, and once again we had another course change… nothing new in the daily search for whales. Sure enough, two Humpback Whales were feeding near one another.
As we watched these two we noticed other exhalations all around us in the not too far distance. We had some great views of these two and got to compare the differences in the pure flukes of one whale with the black and white flukes of the other. What made that even more exciting was the fact that these two whales were new individuals that we had not seen as yet and are not in our catalog. Every day we are being challenged to identify the many new whales coming into our water which is both exciting and truly wonderful to see.
Not to be outdone another whale started breaching in the distance and then as if beckoning us to come see him started lob tailing over and over. How could we refuse such an offer??? Just to show off he threw some caudal peduncle throws in as we approached. A few more tail lobs and we could see this too was another whale that remains unidentified. Another pair of whales showed up close to the boat exhaling and diving as they fed. Our whales were not done with us as this time we had three breaches in a row right next to the boat. Amazing to see the whale totally out of the water especially for our first time whalewatchers. Still more breaches were to come. The whales took a breather and started back to their normal feeding after all that exertion. We spent so much quality time with these whales enjoying the sun and the views of Vancouver Island and the San Juan Islands in between. Eventually it was time to say goodbye to our new friends and we headed off to Port Angeles always on the lookout and even as we left we had some more breaches in the distance.
Our whales certainly put on a great Fourth of July aerial display that won’t be soon forgotten. Have a happy and safe Fourth of July from our Humpbacks of the Salish Sea.
Naturalist – Lee