T’s for Two: Transients on Both Trips!

Port Angeles

Morning Highlights:
Transient Orcas – T11’s and T37’s
Race Rocks
Flat Calm Conditions

The morning trip flirted with light showers off and on throughout the trip, but the pleasant side effect of all that cloud cover meant that the winds were very low yielding perfectly flat sea conditions.  Taking advantage of the “Lake of Juan de Fuca”, we crossed the border toward Vancouver Island after hearing a report of transient killer whales spotted by fishing boats earlier in the morning.  The tip was a good one, as we located six transient (mammal-eating) orcas inside Becher Bay.  They hugged the coastline closely and based on their behavior, we’re fairly certain they made a kill or two though we couldn’t see what.  Their bellies full, the whales played in the kelp close to shore and the youngest two in the group, T37A3 and T37A4, even breached a few times!  After some great looks at the whales we had time to check out Race Rocks for close-ups with harbor seals, California sea lions, and Steller’s sea lions!

Playing in the Kelp
Steller’s Sea Lions, California Sea Lion, and Harbor Seal in One Frame
T11 and T11A

Afternoon Highlights:
Humpback “Stitch”
Race Rocks Encore
Transient Orcas – T60’s

The
afternoon was able to avoid the rain entirely, but the same flat seas
persisted.  The second trip got the ball rolling with a close encounter
with a sub-adult humpback whale known by our boat crew as “Stitch”.  At
one point this curious humpback approached the vessel and even swam
right beside us underwater for the entire length of the boat!  The
conditions still calm, we were able to visit Race Rocks for a second
time today and visited our pinniped friends before continuing on.  We
had initially heard that the killer whales from earlier had changed
direction and headed back to Becher Bay, so we went back to the scene of
our morning sighting.  We did indeed find more transient killer whales,
but they were NOT the same as those from the morning!  This time we had
a group of four – the T60’s! This group also hunted right in front
of us and while we didn’t see their victims above the surface, there was
quite a lot of thrashing and splashing! After one kill we were treated
to a slow-motion spyhop which delighted our guests.  The sunset was a
grand finale that didn’t disappoint, and while the clouds never quite
cleared, the effect they created with the setting sun over the glassy
seas was pretty tough to top. 

Erin

T60 Family Portrait
Humpback Whale “Stitch”

T60C

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