Humpback/ K Pod Orcas…Doubleheader

Port Angeles

Highlights

 Harbor Seals
Mature Bald Eagle
MMX0006 and friend
K21 Cappuccino with K16’s

   A cloudy but rain free sky greeted us thanks to the Olympic Mountains and the rainshadow we experience. As we left the dock we could see the cloud shrouded mountains with Mt Angeles peaking above the clouds. As we ambled into the harbor we checked out the harbor seals hauled out on the log rafts almost missing the mature bald eagle sitting on one of the posts. As we passed by he took flight showing off his beautiful adult plumage and his immense wing span. Rhinocerous Auklets and glaucous winged gulls were scattered throughout the harbor along with a smattering of our summer visitors, the Heerman’s gulls.
    We checked out  the sights along Ediz Hook before we headed out into the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Our course took us Northeasterly towards the Romeo Buoy.  Everyone was on the lookout and  numerous Harbor Porpoises were spotted as we continued our journey. The clouds cleared away enough to see some of the mountain peaks. As we got closer to Romeo Buoy we could see some small whale watch vessels up ahead. And then we spotted the exhalation of a Humpback whale…wait make that 2 Humpback whales!!!!
   We took our time approaching the whales  to better see what they were up to and we were rewarded with massive tail flukes from one letting us identify him as MMX0006 with a beautiful black tail. We watched as he resurfaced exhaling with tall straight exhalations  shooting 15 feet high into the air. Diving  for his deep dive he graced us with his tail every time. He Had  a friend not too far away and we watched  him also but we were not able to get a good fluke shot to ID him so he remains a mystery whale.
   Calls had come in and we knew there were Orcas at Eagle Point on the San Juan Islands so we said our good byse to the Humpbacks and headed for San Juan Island.The closer we got , the more seairds we saw on the water  along with life supporting kelp paddys. Finally  we saw what we had come for. Dorsal fins breaking the water. The whales were scattered over a large area fishing for salmon and our first whale turned out to be the matriarch of the K16’s … 31 year old K16 Opus herself . Fishing not far behind her was her 14 year old son K35 Sonata who is starting to sprout and his dorsal is beginning to grow. we watched them for awhile and then headed over to two large males. One was K21 Cappuccino just turning 30 and usually found with Opus and Sonata as he is the sole survivor of his family line the K18’s. The other male orca remained a little distant but appeared to be K25 Scoter who would be 25 this year. We enjoyed their company for as long as time would allow and then we had to turn and head for home. A great day with 2 different types of whales letting us share a little of their lives with them.
naturalist – Lee

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