*Lots of whales in the Rock Pile area of water
*Fin Whale sighting
*At least 10 Humpbacks in the area
*A few Humpback whales identified as BCX1193 “ZigZag”, BCY0057 “Niagara”, and MMY0006 “Windy”
*Lunge Feeding and a Breach!
*Harbor Seals hauled out at Ediz Hook, and several out in the water swimming
(photo credit to Lee Leddy)
The initial forecast called for a chance of rain, however there was no showers in sight. With the blue skies and white puffy clouds up above, we set off into the Juan de Fuca Strait. With the waters as flat as lake water, we were able to easily spot Harbor Seals and Harbor Porpoise. We made our way towards an area of water known as the Rock Pile. Just on the west side of the Rock Pile, we spotted our first exhalations. They were Humpback Whales, swimming in close proximity of one another. We watched as they surfaced and then brought up their flukes, one by one. One of the whales was quickly identified as BCX1193 “ZigZag” thanks to its uniquely scattered spots on the underside of its flukes. When we first started watching the whales, they appeared to be in a resting mood – very slowly coming up to breath and slowly raising its flukes. Suddenly, they changed their behavior. One after another, the whales began to lunge with the mouths open towards the water’s surface. Lunge Feeding! We watched in awe as the whales continued to lunge feed, sometimes lucky enough to see the hairy baleen inside their mouths. Eventually, the feeding ended and the whales went back to there regular breathing behavior. With perfect timing, Captain got a call on the radio – Fin Whale just a few miles ahead. We made our way to the northwest section of the Rock Pile and noticed the 2nd largest whale species in the world. Fin Whale! With its dark black body and large curved dorsal fin, we watched in awe as large whale came up to the surface to breath. After a bit of time watching the Fin Whale, we said goodbye and headed back towards the humpback whales. As we returned to the Humpbacks, we were able to recognize a few more flukes. One belonged to MMY0006 “windy” and another belonged to BCY0057. We also began to noticed exhalations all around the boat. At least 10 whales within our area. They all appeared to be swimming near a current line – perhaps looking for some more food worthy of lunge feeding. Suddenly, a Breach! The large body of the whale came out of the water and crashed back down creating a huge splash. Not long after the breach, the whales began lunge feeding again.
What a remarkable day!