What Rain?! Orcas and Humpbacks in the Sunshine!

Port Angeles


  • Two Humpbacks including BCY0057 “Niagara”
  • T46 Transient Orca Family
  • Race Rocks Visit 
  • Perfect Weather

It rained rather heavily as we were readying the Island Explorer 4 for her tour this morning, but just minutes before we were scheduled to begin boarding, the clouds parted revealing blue skies and sunshine!  After a tour of the harbor, we made our way into the Strait of Juan de Fuca and began the search.  There was no shortage of harbor porpoise today, and with glass-calm seas, their triangular dorsal fins breaking the surface were easy to spot.  Not long into the journey we got word of killer whales coming in from the west, so we took off in that direction.

Luckily for us, en route we found two humpback whales!  We decided to enjoy the humpbacks for a bit and let the orcas make their way to us.  One of the humpbacks is a known whale, BCY0057 “Niagara”, born in 2000.  Niagara’s companion, however, remains a mystery!  This whale had a unique dorsal fin with notch in it and a fluke that did not match any in our current ID catalog.  I’ll be sending those images off to researchers and will update if anyone has seen this whale before – exciting!

After a few more moments with the humpbacks, we headed toward the killer whales which fortunately had made quite a bit of progress in our direction since we first heard the reports.  We were able to identify this family as the T46’s thanks to a little help from some distinctive notches in their dorsal fins.  They were traveling fairly slowly, allowing for some prolonged viewing as they continued eastward.  Before trip’s end we were able to peel off and fit in a quick stop at Race Rocks to check out the wildlife there, and just like yesterday we found four different Pinniped species – harbor seals, California sea lions, Steller’s sea lions, and an elephant seal!

Really great day on the water!


Humpback Whale
Humpback Whales
BCY0057 “Niagara” and Mystery Companion
Race Rocks

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