Humpbacks out West

Port Angeles

Highlights
harbor seals
Steller sea lion eating lunch
BCY0523 aka CS262
Stitch
numerous humpbacks

BCY0523 aka CS262
BCY0523 aka CS262

Stitch

 The day started off grey and rainy but nothing could dampen our spirits  as our guests were eager to see whales.As we headed through the harbor Mt Angeles was visible through the cloud cover. A freighter was moored and we got close up looks at it. harbor seals were lined up along Ediz Hook hoping to catch a few rays of sun. We turned out into the straits heading northwest into a flat calm sea though it was overcast and a light rain fell now and again. we pushed on  in search  of whales and some good eyes spotted a steller sea lion eating a fish for lunch. As he tossed  it around gulls flocked for the scraps.  we watched until he had finished his meal and went off on his way.  Not far another steller also had  a meal he was consuming. We pressed on westward as showers sprinkled around on and off  and eventually looking like they would lift and clear somewhat. We continued west and there we found our prize….humpback whales. we stopped and watched the first few we came to then moved on to the next pair.They seemed to be feeding deep with around 7 minute down times and would remain on the surface for a bit before showing us  their flukes as they went on their deep dive. Most of the flukes were new animals to the area though we had two humpbacks we recognized. One was a humpback that had rake marks on his tail from a previous orca attack known as BCY0523  also known as CS262. We know that he is at least 8 years old. Another one has no ID but we know him as Stitch. We were not done yet as we continued our westward trek. The further we went the more humpbacks appeared . We seemed to have them on all sides of us and could see them blowing in the distance. We had quite a few close passes and got to see some unique looking tails’ Shutting off the engines we listened to them exhaling as they came around the boat  and passing to our stern. At one point we had two come right over to the boat and go under it  popping up on the other side right next to the boat with a huge exhalation. The pair dove not far away and we had some truly great fluke shots. We spent a lot of time  checking out all the humpbacks marveling at the vast number of them across the straits. Eventually we had to head back home with some blue skies even peeking out at us. Common murres and red necked phalaropes were spotted on our journey home. It turned out to be a great day with the rain  being held in check by our notorious rainshadow effect  over the Olympic mountains and we weren’t complaining. A conservative estimate  put the amount of whales we saw at whopping 20 and we know there were many more out there!!!
Naturalist – Lee

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