*Humpback Whale BCX1057 “Divot” near the VF navigational buoy
*Humpback Whale Breaches and pectoral slaps offshore of Becher Bay
*Resident Orcas, K-pod, heading eastbound at Race Rocks
*2 more Humpbacks spotted during our trip, one identified as BCZ0298 “Split Fin”
(photo credit: Lee Leddy)
Wildlife viewing began as soon as everyone was onboard. A beautiful Great Blue Heron was standing on the floating log right in front of the Island Explorer 4. We got really great looks as it stayed on the log as we cruised by, exiting the marina. After viewing the landmarks along Ediz Hook, we got another wildlife viewing along the shoreline at the tip of the sediment spit. They were Harbor Seals, a huge group of them, hauled out on the sand. Getting out of the chilly water is a great way to warm their football shaped bodies up. Once we passed the seals, we were in open waters and began to focus our eyes for larger wildlife. We started our journey heading in a north west direction. Shortly after passing the VF navigational buoy, a passenger noticed something on the water. He alerted us that something had caught his eye, so we focused our eyes and sure enough – it was a whale! A Humpback Whale! We headed over to get some nice looks at the whale. We were lucky enough that she raised her flukes out of the water as she went on her deep dives. The unique flukes were identified as BCX1057 “Divot”. As we watched Divot, a call came over the radio alerting us to inbound Orcas spotted just north of us. We said goodbye to BCX1057 and headed north. But before we could arrive at the Orca’s destination, a large breach caught our attention. It was another Humpback Whale getting our attention with a few breaches. As we got closer, the whale began slapping its pectoral flippers against the water and we could hear the loud thud it created. Eventually, its surface activity was completed and it went on a deep dive. So, we said goodbye and continued on our way towards the Orcas. Another Humpback surfaced between us and the Orcas, so we watched as it exhaled but continued to cruise. The Orcas had picked up speed, so we were going to have to keep moving in order to catch up to them. We did just that, as we reached the waters just north of Race Rocks. There were several Orcas all spread out throughout the waters. We were able to get some great looks and identified them as the Southern Resident Orcas K-pod group. A couple of groupings swam right by the boat, lifting their heads up slightly as they swam, allowing us to see their bright white eye patches. Some of the individuals spotted included K12 Sequim, K37 Rainshadow, K33 Tika, K21 Cappuccino and several others. We stayed with the Orcas for about an hour as they continued making their way towards the VH navigational buoy. Then we made our turn southward to head back to Port Angeles. Before making back to PA, we spotted a couple more Humpbacks. One of them was easily recognized as BCZ0298 “Split Fin”, thanks to its uniquely splitted dorsal fin. Definitely a whale of a day on the Juan de Fuca Strait.