Humpbacks and T’s

Port Angeles

Highlights

Harbor seals everywhere
birds galore
Humpbacks whales  “Stitch” and MMZ0004
Transient Orcas
Sea Otter
Race Rocks

 We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day after all the wind from yesterday. The skies were blue and the waters were glassy calm. We left the dock and entered the harbor and with only one harbor seal out on the log rafts we soon found out the others were scattered all over in the water and lots of harbor seal pups were seen . The bird life was abundant in the harbor with common murres and rhinocerous auklets, glaucous winged and heerman’s gulls and a few comorants all looking for bait balls. We passed a few more harbor seals hauled out on Ediz Hook and then we were off on the search. As we made our way towards an area known as the rockpile we got a call that humpbacks had been found. We arrived to find 2 humpbacks in a feeding mode doing a lot of circling and direction changes. AS they dove we got to see their flukes letting us identify them as a whale we know as Stitch and MMZ0004.we had plenty of time with them and quite a few times they surfaced right next to the boat startling everyone. Harbor porpoise showed up around the boat while we watched the  whales.While we enjoyed their company another call came in that a large group of transient or marine mammal eating orcas had been found so when we were done watching our humpback friends we  made our way west to see the orcas. We caught up with them not too far away from Port Angeles and the Elwha River. They seemed to be in a slow traveling mode making their way slowly northwest. At one point they picked up speed and we saw 2 Stellar Sea Lions in their path. They seemed to notice them too as they made a stop and circled  looking like a possible kill as a few gulls started to come in but then they quickly moved on  so it is possible they were still chasing them or they actually gave the orcas the slip.We didnt see any evidence of them eating.we stayed with the group of 8 orcas for a long time and could recognize the T37A family made up of T37A the 22 year old mom and 3 of her children T37A2  (7 years old) T37A3 (about  4 years old) and T37A4 a yearling calf. Identities on the other orcas pending with the large male oossibly being a California transient . As identities are confirmed I will update. More Humpbacks were spotted in the distance as we watched the orcas. Eventually as they kept heading northwest we veered off to take a look at Race Rocks and check out the lighthouse . Lots of stellar and california sea lions  speckled the rocks , some sleeping some arguing with lots of barking and growling. Sea birds swirled around the rocks  and harbor seals lined the lower rocks and kelp beds. We were lucky enough to get to see the Sea Otter hanging out in the kelp bed today. As we reentered the straits our time was getting short so we set our sites on home keeping our eyes open for anything that should cross our path. Harbor porpoise and harbor seals  popped up along our homeward bound route while the snow capped peaks of Hurricane Ridge made for a beautiful backdrop. What a fantastic day we had out on the water today
naturalist – Lee

update … looking like the big male transient maybe CA79 a california boy

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