9:30 AM Trip
L25 Ocean Sun and L41 Mega
Finback Whale in with feeding Humpbacks
We left the dock with a gorgeous day ahead of us with blue skies above and flat calm water below. A few Harbor seals were hauled out on the log rafts and the harbor was quiet except for the sprinkling of rhinocerouse auklets and glaucous winged gulls and Heermann’s gulls. Off we went into the Straits of Juan de Fuca in our search for whales.
Sharp eyed passenger spotted harbor porpoise popping in and out of the water and not too long into our trip the first humpback whale exhalation appeared.We spent a little time with the humpback before we got a call that orcas were not too far off so the search was on again. Not far from the Romeo Alpha Buoy we caught up with two L Pod orcas. … one large male and a female. They turned out to be 39 year old L41 Mega and L25 Ocean Sun who turns 88 this year. They had a little distance between them and appeared to be on the hunt for salmon. We got some great looks as Ocean Sun made some very close passes to the boat even breaching once for us.
Our trip was not to be over even after spending a good amount of time with the orcas for a special treat was in store for us. Another call and we were off again this time in search of extremely rare visitor to our waters the Finback Whale, 2nd largest whale in the world. There was to be no disappointment today as we not only found our Finback but he was amongst a bunch of Humpback whales all feeding. The comparison in size and behaviour was obvious from the tall straight exhalation to the 2 foot falcate dorsal fin and elongated streamlined back. This was not the rotund humpback whale that was feeding not far from him. We marveled at the size and just the uniqueness of seeing this amazing animal. The Finback Whale has the honor of being the only asymmetrically colored whale with his lower right jaw white and black baleen on the left side and white or cream colored baleen on the right.
What an honor to witness his entrance into the straits of Juan de Fuca and we wish him well as investigates our waters. we watched him and the humpbacks who came over close to the boat giving us fantastic views of their huge flukes. We couldn’t have asked for any better a day to spend out on the water.
Naturalist – Lee
3:30 PM Trip
lots of seabirds
5-7 Humback Whales yet to be identified
1 Breaching, lob tailing, pec slapping Humpback
Our evening trip had great weather with the sky still blue and a fairly warm breeze. We started off to the east to check out some hot spots for whales when a sharp eyed passenger spotted some small cetaceans jumping not far from the boat. As we watched we realized that these were not the usual harbor porpoise we were expecting to see but a small pod of about 4-5 common dolphin surfacing together and seeming to enjoy the wake we were creating. Trying to get some good photos we did some long looping circles while they surfaced here and there splashing about playing in the waves. What a treat to see these uncommon and rare visitors to our waters…what a year this has been for the unusual and what a day!!!!! A Finback whale in the morning and common dolphin in the evening!!!
After a bit we pressed on and a call came in that humpbacks were not too far to our west. We changed course and headed their way. Once again our passengers were on the lookout and found a couple of Humpback whales on our port side. We enjoyed their company for a bit until Captain John noticed a breaching humpback in the distance. Of course we all wanted to see that so off we went again. By the time we got there the whale had settled down so we watched these big guys feed and fluke as they dove showing us their giant 20 foot flukes. Once again another whale was breaching this time a little closer and we made our way over therein time to see some breaches and then the whale started tail lobbing. We could hear the sound of the flukes slamming on the water. Not done yet the whale threw in some peduncle throws before continuing tail lobbing upside down. We were thrilled even more as the whale dove and suddenly breached out of the water not once but many times.And as if that wasn’t enough, we were treated to some pectoral fin slaps and the resounding noise from it and even rolling on his back with his two pecs in the air. Finally the whale must have run out of energy and setttled back down into a feeding mode and traveled towards a distant whale.We could see quite a few exhalations in the not to far distance with at least some 5-7 humpbacks in the area feeding. We spent alot of good quality time with this surface active whale until we had to return back to to the dock as our guests checked out their amazing videos and photos.
Naturalist – Lee