search for whales and it didn’t take us long at all. We had whales practically
in our backyard! What a way to start the day!
As we got on scene near Lummi Island we found
members of Jpod foraging. First up we had members of the J17s cross our bow.
Tahlequah (J35) and her son, Notch (J47), cruised past heading in the direction
of the rest of their family. Close behind was Doublestuf (J34) and his mom,
Oreo (J22). Doublestuf breached and then cartwheeled several times in a row.
What a treat! We also had Mike (J26) on one side and Onyx (L87), the Jpod
adoptee, on the other. With him was none other than the matriarch
As the whales began swimming south between
Cypress and Blakely Islands they began to get active. We saw spyhops and
breaches. Along the Cypress shoreline we had the J16s group up and also got to
spend time with the J19s. Little Nova (J51) was popping up alongside his mom
As the whales continued south in Rosario we
broke off for a bit to visit with some harbor seals hauled out on Pointer
Island. They were enjoying the sunshine and continued their snoozing as we
We met back up with the whales as they left
Blakely behind them and saw Onyx and Granny again as they cruised past. Granny
tail slapped twice and soon after several groups of whales began porpoising
south in her direction. Perhaps she was telling them it was time to pick up the
pace. We got some nice looks at the J14s as we aimed for other whales near Bird
As the whales aimed for the south end of Lopez
Island we saw Doublestuf with the J19s and the four were socializing and
rolling around together. Other whales were porpoising and surfing in a wake
further out. It was so cool to see.
As we bid goodbye to our whale friends we saw
the J17s again and one of them even breached right off of our bow. It was a
Captain Carl gave us a beautiful view of the
Burrow’s Island lighthouse as we cruised back towards port and we even got to
see the schooner Adventuress set sail from Cap Sante as we rounded the point
back into the marina. What a beautiful morning on the water!
this evening’s trip.
We left Cap Sante and pushed out into Guemes
Channel where we immediately saw harbor porpoise zipping about in the current
lines. We continued south in Rosario and made our first slowdown at Colville
Island where we spotted some harbor seals hauled out along the shore. We even
spotted a new pup snuggled up against its mother.
But we had bigger things to look for and with
that we pushed west because there were orcas ahead! As we approached Hein Bank
we were about to witness something not often seen—resident orcas playing with
a harbor porpoise. Suttles (J40) was pushing the neonate harbor porpoise around
and was closely accompanied by her nephew, T’ilem I’nges (J49). As they milled
about Suttles continued to lift the porpoise up on her head and body. She even
spyhopped twice! With the porpoise still in play she crossed behind us swimming
upside down so we could see her white belly below the surface and reappeared on
our port side balancing the porpoise on her side. At this point Hy’shqa (J37)
came by and seemed to almost collect her son, T’ilem I’nges. The two swam off
together while Suttles remained near us still pushing the porpoise around.
She was soon joined by her mother, Samish (J14)
and younger brother, Se-Yi-Chn (J45) and while the two were almost flanking her
she was always the one with the porpoise. And before we knew it a minke whale
joined them! That’s right. A minke whale! The minke swam right towards the
orcas and then surfaced parallel to them and only about thirty feet away. It
was a very interesting interaction.
Soon though we peeled off and you may be asking
“why would you leave something so rare to see and so interesting?”.
Well we wouldn’t normally but we had word about some more animals to the south
and we pushed out a ways to see them. On our way we saw Onyx (L87) and minke
whale two and three. But there were still BIGGER whales ahead!
As we arrived we found not one, not two, but
THREE LUNGE FEEDING humpback whales! How amazing!!!! Over and over they
surfaced with their mouths wide open in tandem. After a bit they dove deep and
showed off their huge flukes and we were able to recognize one of them as
BCY0160 “Heather”. But it wasn’t over; after a long dive they
resurfaced right next to us and all three swam straight at us and then dove
under the boat together! They circled around the area and found more to eat
because they started lunge feeding again! What a phenomenal experience!
Eventually we had to head home because we had a
long haul but wow, what a magical day!
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