Hordes of Humpbacks way out West

Port Angeles

Harbor Seals at Ediz Hook
Bait balls with lots of mixed birds
Race Rocks Lighthouse
California and Stellar Sea Lions
50 + Humpback Whales


BCX1215 Orion aka CS354


    The day started out like any other as we ambled through Port Angeles Harbor checking out the sights. The fish farm was harvesting Atlantic Salmon and not far beyond that a good size bait ball had formed attracting a myriad of seabirds.Among the birds were our usual galucous winged and Heermans gulls along with a few herring gulls ,common murres and cormorants. A common loon was also spotted not far away.Rounding the hook we  took some time to check out a group of harbor seals hauled out on the beach looking for the last of the summer’s warmth. And then we were off heading across the straits to Race Rocks ecological preserve and any whales we might spot along the way.
       We got some glimpses of Hurricane Ridge as we continued northwest. Race Rocks Lighthouse  was prominent as we entered Canadian waters. Traveling through Race Rocks  we were treated to the sights and sounds of California and Stellar Sea Lions up on the rocky ledges sleeping and sparring. Harbor seals lined the low edges of the rocks. Calls had come in from our Canadian friends out west and they told us  unbelievable numbers of humpbacks. We pointed our bow in their direction and kept on the lookout. As we neared Pillar Point we started  to see a few exhalations  of humpback whales and we slowed to check them out . There were some long down times on a few so we proceeded forward and we were advised to keep on heading west beyond what we thought were a few Humpbacks. What great advice!!!!!.The water had flattened out and there was a warmth to the air. And exhalations…..everywhere. We shut down the boat and jsut watched and listened.As far as the eye could see there were whales in pairs and threes and fours surfacing together and diving one after the other. Where to Look?????.Anywhere !! Everywhere!!.We could’nt even count whales there were so many. It was non stop Humpbacks surfacing and diving  even a breach from one. And even as we watched these whales we heard from boats further west with just as many whales. If ever there was a Humpback Heaven we were in it.As if that wasn’t excitement enough we had a few whales surfacing in groups close to us and one came right next to the boat with a huge exhalation and eventually fluking near us. This was not a normal whalewatch day by far but an extraordinary one… one to never forget. With so many flukes being shown we could tell that many were new whales not in our catalog  but some old friends also turned up. We saw BCX1215 Orion aka CS354 who is at least 7 years old and he was hanging out with CS262 known to be at least 8 years old. We have another one with no ID but we have seen quite a bit this year and have nicknamed her Tulip. What an incredible day with an amazing amount of whales. We finally headed home after spending a wonderful day with these these magnificent animals. We would arrive home a little late but no  one cared as the time was well worth it and the memories will last a lifetime.
Naturalist- Lee

Link for Race Rocks…racerocks.ca

 if i find out ID’s on any  of the others I will update

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