Captain Carl finds us orcas!



-Bald Eagles
-Harbor seals
-Orcas on the hunt!
-Harbor seals

We left on our morning trip and began our trek to the north. We spotted a mature bald eagle on Huckleberry Island. On Viti Rocks, we found another eagle and several harbor seals hauled out. We headed to the north and it was Captain Carl who saved the day! He found a group of marine mammal eating orcas! It ended up being the T123s (T123, T123A and T123C), T51, T36As, (T36A, T36A1, T36A2 and T36A3) and the T75Bs (T75B and T75B2). They were spread out traveling in groups of twos and threes. Then most of the whales grouped up and the hunt was on! They started hunting a  harbor porpoise! We could see the little guy trying to escape the pursuit! At one point, one of the orcas came out of the water with the harbor porpoise in its mouth. Another time, an orca came out of the water, pushing the porpoise airborne! Incredible! We watched them swimming in circles, presumably sharing their prey. T51 was off on his own with another animal and we caught a few quick glimpses. It was an amazing time spent with the animals. We headed home and spotted several harbor seals on Clements Reef. We cruised home after a gorgeous day on the water! 

A special thanks to our friend Sara for her report from the evening trip!
-Harbor porpoise
-Harbor seals
-Harlequin ducks
-Bald eagles
-Belted kingfishers

As we left the dock this afternoon we were spirited on our way by a little liquid sunshine, but we were anything but discouraged as we headed north up by the east side of Guemes Island. The clouds and lighting gave us some beautiful views of evergreen islands shrouded in mist.

Almost immediately we were joined by harbor porpoise fishing in the current lines. Perhaps it was an omen of a wildlife-packed trip? We would have to continue on to find out.

As we pushed north past Orcas Island we slowed up to view some harbor seals hauled out on Clements Reef. With the seals were several harlequin ducks and pigeon guillemots. As we picked up speed a couple of the ducks took flight, winging away to the west.

But we were on the lookout for whales and it wasn’t long before we spotted them. As we passed Patos Island we met up with a large group of transient, or marine mammal-eating, killer whales. We didn’t have just one or two families here but whales from six different matrilines! The whales from our morning trip, the T123s, T75Bs, T36As, and T51, had joined up with another group of whales, the T137s, T65Bs and T124C. As we arrived on scene the two lone males of the group were hanging out on the outskirts while the rest seemed to be enjoying some social time. We saw breaches, spy hops, and tail lobs galore. And then they abruptly changed direction and came towards us, still socializing. What an incredible encounter!

They continued to socialize as they circled the area and the two males, T124C and T51, were always in the area but not involved in the main social group. As they moved off however a smaller fin popped up with T51–either a female or juvenile male–and the two whales swam together off from the main group.

Eventually we had to bid farewell to the whales and start back towards home. Slowing up at Puffin Island we spotted a bald eagle and nest. Cruising back south past Guemes Island we slowed to check out a cormorant rookery and Captain Carl spotted another adult bald eagle while naturalist Brooke spotted two belted kingfishers actually in the process of fishing. Awesome!

With that we cruised back to the dock and wrapped up a beautiful evening on the water!

from Blogger


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