MUGGED…not once but twice!!!!!!

Port Angeles

Highlights

Harbor Seals at Ediz Hook
Pilot Boat
Humpbacks Galore
2 separate muggings by Humpbacks

       

Sphyhopping  humpback

Harbor seals at Ediz Hook

pilot boat in action

our first mugging humpback

our second muggers

our second muggers

one of many flukes

blowhole

beautiful white fluke

humpback eye looking at us

synchronized swimming

double flukes

give them a 10

   The day looked promising with blue skies and a light breeze. The Olympics had clouds piling up behind them as we headed out into the harbor. Rhinocerous Auklets and Heermann’s gulls lined the harbor feasting on the small bait fish. Harbor seals were hauled out on the log rafts enjoying the morning sun. As we rounded Ediz Hook,  harbor seals were piled up at the tip en mass, making the most of the warming day.
    Our plan was to check out the spot we had been to on our evening trip. As we headed east into the Straits of Juan de Fuca  a cargo ship coming in  was in need of picking up a pilot to escort him to his next destination so we were treated to watching the pilot boat pull alongside the cargo ship and drop off his pilot.
    It wasn’t long into our trip that the first telltale blows of the humpbacks whales were seen. We stopped to check out a single animal  and then headed off to look at a larger group of whales. As we watched we could see many exhalations around us and many of the humpbacks were not being tails shy today and showing their flukes. We watched them feed  with many close passes and constant changing whales never knowing just where to look as they would pop up all around us. At one point we could count 10 whales just within our close range right in front of us.
    At one point one of the whales in the distance started tail lobbing so we headed over to see if we could catch it in  the act. We were treated to one nice big one on our starboard side. We spent the day checking out group after group of Humpback whales  enjoying their unique tails. Most of the whales were new individuals not found in our catalog  but some  had been seen earlier this week. One was a familiar friend from last year with no catalog number but we have affectionately called Stitch.
    That’s when it happened!!!! One whale decided to come over and check us out. The whale came over putting his face right up to the boat staring at everyone. Then he went under the boat and checked out the other side. He would disappear and then magically reappear right next to the boat to the delight of all on board.What an amazing sight to be so close to such a huge animal as he checked us out also known as a mugging. when he had enough of people watching we went and looked at another group of humpbacks this time with what we thought were three whales feeding …nope four whales…wait where did that fifth one come from???. Whales were appearing out of nowhere and once again we found ourselves in humpback soup.
    Our whole day was spent with these fantastic whales watching an incredible number of humpbacks with at least twenty in our vicinity feeding and slowly swimming about. Getting ready to leav we watched our last whale take his final dive and we started to head off. It seems the whales werent done with us as to appeared on our port side and made a turn heading right for the boat. Once again we shut down and waited for these guys to pass us but instead they came right over to the boat checking us out and looking at us.One even spyhopped to get a better look at everyone. The two slowly made their way to the bow and just hung in the water turning their tails to face us,breathing and resting near the boat. Wow. It isn’t everyday whales come to hang out with you. At long last they decided it was okay for us to leave and we were treated to one long last look at a pair perfectly synchronized and diving in unison fluking a goodbye wave to our astounded guests.
Naturalist – Lee
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