Whales and Waves

Port Angeles

Highlights
 Humpback whale named Stitch
2 unidentified Humpbacks
harbor seals  at Ediz Hook
great blue heron on logs

Today mother nature offered us a bit of a challenge in the way of wind and waves. Our intrepid guests were ready for the challenge and with the sun shining we headed off the docks  checking out the great blue heron standing along the logs  fishing for breakfast. We slowly made our way through the harbor being careful not to make a wake as we passed a large tanker receiving fuel from a fuel barge. One of the pilot boats was just returning from dropping off a pilot to an inbound tanker. The salmon fish farm and coast guard station were next on the list and then it was out into the Straits of Juan de Fuca.
We set our sights in a northeasterly direction to travel with the waves  and give us the most comfortable ride as all eyes on board scoured the whitecaps for signs of whales. Our diligence paid off as an eagle eyed passenger spied our first exhalation of a humpback whale.  It turned out to be an old friend we call Stitch but he wasn’t up for long before he fluked showing us his black tail and disappearing. We waited for him to resurface  and after a bit we spied a blow in the distance so we went over to it figuring it was Stitch.  It turned out to be 2 humpback whales swimming together.  The wind and waves made keeping up with these two challenging as they would resurface a little distance away and fluke  as we would get back up to them. Eventually we were lucky enough to have them surface fairly close allowing us some good looks and an excellent view of the flukes of one, a beautiful white fluke while the other fluke was a little more elusive. After checking through photos  it was clear that Stitch was not the second whale as this one had a fair amount of  patchy white on it and unfortunately they remain without identities at this time. As we traveled with the whales they had headed southwest taking us closer to shore and closer to home port. With increasing winds and no let up in sight  we continued our search for whales as we slowly progressed back toward port. The sun was warming even in spite of the wind and mother nature provided us with some awesome sights of the changing cloud covers . They were streaked across the sky in amazing patterns and swirls with even one  unusual lenticular cloud over Vancouver Island which is a lens shaped cloud that forms on the downwind side of a mountain range aligned at right angles to wind direction. You never know what you can see on a day out  in the Straits.
Naturalist-Lee

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