T11’s and tons of Humpbacks

Port Angeles

Highlights

Harbor seals
Harbor porpoise
Race rocks and pinnipeds
T11 and T11A
BCX1215 “Orion” aka CS354
BCYukKeta2015#3  “Hydra
20+ Humpbacks

steller sea lion

race rocks lighthouse

steller sea lion

steller sea lion

steller sea lion

california sea lions

california sea lion

steller sea lion

steller sea lion

elephant seal

elephant seal

elephant seal

BCX1215 Orion aka CS354

BCX1215 Orion aka CS354

BCYukKeta2015#3 Hydra

BCYukKeta2015#3 Hydra
T11A

T11
T11A

T11A & T11

T11A & T11

T11A & T11

Rainy and damp was the start of the day but our guests were well prepared and eager to check out the Salish Sea.Large freighter were in the harbor as we passed by Ediz Hook.The harbor seals were hauled out on the beach waiting for a ray of sun to warm them up.The water was calm and we could see some blue skies to the west so we headed in that direction.Showers briefly sprinkled us but all eyes were on the water and soon a steller seal lion was spotted just finishing up his breakfast. Birds fluttered overhead hoping for a tasty morsel. As we continued on harbor porpoise also made their quick appearances before disappearing from sight. We headed towards Vancouver Island to get a look at Race Rocks Lighthouse and check out the wild life that was there. We had some great backdrops for the lighthouse with the ever changing sky and cloud cover. We heard and smelled our first animals even before we saw them. Steller Sea Lions and California Sea Lions were growling and barking as only they can do lined up on the rocky ledges arguing over whose spot it was. We were rather lucky to see a few elephant seals, our largest pinniped, high up on some rocks. Harbor seals completed the scene  on the lower edges close to the water. Onward we went getting great views of Vancouver Island as the sun was shining down on us. Not to far off  Captain Shane spotted some transient orcas but a little further away some splashing and alot of surface activity got our curiosity and we decided to come back to the transients after checking out what we thought  was more transients  actively killing their lunch. When we got their  no sign of orcas were spotted but a humpback known as BCX1215 Orion  aka CS354 was making a beeline for the west at 8 knots!!! Orion  has been seen already this year in to two of the 3 orca / humpbacks conflicts we have witnessed. We still are not sure  exactly what it was we were seeing but it definitely was out of the ordinary. Since we werent far off from a large amount of Humpbacks we kept heading west and ran into a huge mass of humpbacks. A storm coming in from the west made a perfect backdrop for seeing all the exhalations in the distance one after the other. We chose a close group and checked them out  getting some good looks and a another good ID fluke shot  let us identify another humpback known as BCYukKeta2015#3 also know as Hydra. we spent time with the humpbacks until the rains came and then went back to find our orca friends. Once they were spotted it was confirmed they were  T11 a 53 year mom and her 38 year old son T11A. We watched them zig and zag through the current lines going in every direction. We  had some outstanding looks at them as they surfaced right next to the boat  and traveled alongside us until they dove on a deep dive and zigged again.With time running short as we were a;ready going to get back to the dock a little late we said our goodbyes and headed back to the Olympic peninsula and the harbor. Our guests picked a great day to go whale watching seeing both orcas and humpbacks and at the same time getting away from the rain falling on the Olympics.
Naturalist- Lee

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