Harbor Seals at Ediz Hook
MMY0006 Windy hanging out with Stitch
Unidentified Humpback nicknamed Tulip
Breezy and sunny describes the morning trip as we started off from the dock. The Olympics were clear and harbor seals were hauled out warming up on the log rafts. A small bait ball formed near the entrance to Ediz hook and some Glaucous winged and Heerman’s gulls were flocking to it along with rhinocerous auklets . More harbor seals were at the tip of the hook and some pups were among those laying on the beach
We headed northeast in hopes of finding some whales and it appeared we chose the right direction.Not far beyond an area known as the rockpile the exhalation of a humpback was spotted. As it turned out there were two not far beyond this first one so we chose to go look at the pair. They turned out to be MMY0006 known as Windy and her companion is known as Stitch though he has no official ID as of yet. They were in feeding mode taking short fast dives raising their flukes on many occasions and switching directions. A smaller humpback MMX0006 was also zipping around in the choppy seas. Many other exhalations were seen not far from our position and it is safe to say there were at least 7-10 humpback whales in the area. With all the flukes being shown we were able to identify MMX0009 as he surfaced near us and fluked, We were treated to many close passes by Windy and Stitch and even got to enjoy being sprayed by the duo’s breath as they made a slow pass on our starboard side misting everyone. Justin brought in a giant piece of Bullwhip kelp and we all got to check it out before returning it back to the sea.What great fun. How time flies when you are enjoying yourself but we eventually found ourselves needing to head back to port.
MMY0006 Windy feeding with new companion
The wind had definitely picked up since our morning trip.Harbor seals were catching some last minute rays on the log rafts. The pilot station was busy as freighters made their way up the straits of Juan de Fuca. We made our way northeastward towards the last known spot of our humpbacks through the mounting seas. Our travels took us a little further east near the offshore of Dungeness Spit. The New Dungeness Lighthouse was clearly visible. Suddenly one exhalation was spotted. Almost immediately a pair of humpbacks was spotted. The whales were constantly changing course as they fed in the rough seas. It wasn’t long before Captain John had them dialed in keeping the seas at our stern for a much smoother ride. Even so we found ourselves holding on as we had to due course changes to keep up with our whales.With some beautiful flukes being displayed we found that the pair was our friend MMY0006 Windy with a new whale with beautiful white flukes. Our third whale remains a mystery . We watched the whale for as long as we could but eventually the weather would win out but not before we had Windy and friend pop up right next to uswith some slow surfacing. IT WAS AMAZING!!!!. We could see both the whales as they slowly rose through the waves to breath. Their entire bodies were visible under water. Alas mother nature was telling us it was time to skedaddle back to the docks. We all went downstairs in the cabin to get out of the weather and what an awesome group of people we had on board. We talked of whales and exchanged stories and time passed by as we traveled through our stormy seas. Before we knew it we had arrived back at the harbor everyone with smiles on their faces from their whale encounter…Quality time spent with the pair of whales and some amazing photos to remember it by.
Naturalist – Lee