*Transient Orcas T65A & T37 family groups traveling together
*Over an hour of Orca time as they travel southeast across the Juan de Fuca Strait
*Several Humpbacks in the Rock Pile area
*Large Submarine traveling through the Strait with its escorts
(Photo credit: Lee Leddy)
With the summer heat expected to be in the high 70’s, we were happy to be spending our day out on the water. We basked in the sunshine as the clear skies allowed for views across the strait for miles. We even got a great view of Mt. Baker, the third largest single peak in Washington located about 80 miles from Port Angeles.
As we entered the open waters, we headed north. It wasn’t long before we spotted our first whale of the day. It was the large exhalation of a Humpback Whale. As we watched the exhalations, Captain Dennis received a call – Orcas 7 miles ahead. The Orcas were reported to be traveling East at a fairly fast rate, so in order to make sure we had ample time with them we said goodbye to our Humpback Whale. We made sure to note where the Humpback Whale was in hopes of finding it on our way back home.
We caught up with the Orcas just south of Race Rocks. It was the family group of transient orcas T65A and some members of the family group T37. Luck was on our side as we watched the group of Orcas because they adjusted their travels to a southeast direction – pretty much heading back in the direction of Port Angeles. That allowed us to spend over an hour with the amazing whales. A few of them stood out among the crowd. One was T65A2, a 12 year old male with a tall and nicked dorsal fin. The other was an adorable 2 year old orca, T65A5, whose small dorsal fin was dwarfed by its family members. We stayed with the Orcas all the way to an area called the Rock Pile. At the Rock Pile, some other whales caught our eye. It was Humpback blows and there were several of them. We said our goodbyes to the Orcas and made our way to the Humpbacks.
As we watched the Humpbacks at the Rock Pile area, the captain let us know about an approaching visitor. It was a large submarine being escorted by the Arrowhead escort boats and a few coast guard vessels. Due to security measures we gave the submarine plenty of space to maneuver through the Strait, while still enjoying the sight of the large vessel. Luckily, when we moved northward to give the sub its needed space, we came across another Humpback Whale. This one seemed to be in a resting pattern, as it took medium length dives and did not make long distance travels. A few more Humpback Whales caught our eye before we made our return to Port Angeles.