Humpbacks across the Straits

Port Angeles

Highlights

Harbor Seals hiding in kelp paddies
Murre , Auklets, and Phalaropes
6 Humpback whales
 Race Rocks/lighthouse/wildlife

MMX0006

Harbor Seal

CS272

CS272

Sea Otter

MMX0006

MMX0006

MMX0006

MMX0006
MMX00006

     A great day to be out on the water as the heat was going to to be ever increasing. As we left the dock we checked out the Olympics clear of clouds for now.  Birds of all sorts  were in the harbor and out in the straits. We had Glaucous winged gulls, Heerman’s gulls, Rhinocerous Auklets,Common Murres, and Red Necked Phalaropes all throughout the day. Kelp paddies floated on the surface and the harbor seals were taking advantage of new resting places.  Not long into our trip our first whale was spotted. A black fluked humpback showed off his tail to us  many times and with that fluking  he was identified as CS272 a humpback seen in Clayoquot sound since 2008. Not too far away  we had two more humpbacks working together cooperatively to feed. We checked out this pair for awhile getting some nice looks at two more black flukes. Eventually we had to move on as we had tankers coming through the lanes. That would give us the chance to check out Race Rocks ecological preserve. On our way there we would see harbor porpoise popping up here and there in the calm water. We had great looks at Victoria on Vancouver Island and Hurricane Ridge and the Elwha river valley on the Olympics. We got side tracked on our way there and  checked out another humpback whale. Another black fluke but this time with an identity of MMX0006 . MMX0006 gave us a thrill as he headed  straight for us crossing right under the bow  letting us see his great size and beautiful tail. Some of us were even treated to a little whale exhalation!!!! We continued on to race rocks  and checked out the lighthouse  along with  Stellar sea lions  and California sea lions perched all over the rocky ledges barking and growling or just enjoying the midday sun. Harbor seals occupied the lower rocks since they are not built to climb  like a sea lion. A special treat was the sea otter  wrapped in the kelp bed.  As we continued our journey 2 more humpbacks  were found as we headed back across the straits. We had some good looks at them and found that one had a good amount of white on  his flukes but alas these 2 also seem to be part  of the new humpbacks that have made the Salish Sea their summer feeding grounds so they too remain anonymous for now. With a great day of whales behind us and an afternoon of summer heat ahead of us, we made our way back to port always on the lookout with more seals, harbor porpoise and lots of birds along the way.
Naturalist-Lee

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