SUPERPOD in the Straits & humpbacks too!!!

Port Angeles

Highlights
giant baitball in the harbor
baby harbor seals
Boat transport vessel
J26 Mike and his family the J16’s
L88 Wavewalker
L54’s
L84 Nyssa
K21 Cappuccino
K37 Rainshadow
2 humpbacks…Stitch and  unidentified

bait ball

J26 Mike

J26 Mike

J26 Mike

J26 Mike

J26 Mike

J16 Slick

J16 Slick and J50 Scarlet
J16’s

J16’s

L88 Wavewalker

L88 Wavewalker

L84 Nyssa

Stitch

Stitch

Stitch

The Olympics

 Cloudy and cool with a chance of liquid sunshine, our guests were well prepared and ready to go. Out in the harbor a large boat transport vessel was anchored and we got some great looks. A common loon still with leftover breeding plumage was among the many birds we saw. An enormous baitball had formed and the birds were feeding in force. Glaucous winged and heerman’s gulls. common murres and cormorrants, and rhinocrous auklets were bombarding  this massive grouping of fish in a feeding frenzy.While we watched the birds two adorable harbor seal pups popped up  checking us out with their puppy dog eyes. More harbor seals were swimming  at Ediz Hook point as we rounded it and set out into the straits. With winds out of the southeast we headed to the west where the waters were calm and aimed towards the middle of the straits. We left the rain behind us as we entered into the rainshadow of the Olympic Mountains and had some fantastic  views of the mountain range with the cloud coverage and lighting.With race rocks lighthouse behind us and open water ahead of us our first whales were spotted… An orca and a humpback. We checked out the big male orca and discovered it wasnt a transient but one of our resident fisheaters fishing . It turned out to be J26 Mike and we knew his family couldn’t be far off. We enjoyed his fishing antics for awhile then went in search of the J16’s  who weren’t too far away. J16 Slick was there with her daughters J36 Alki  J42 Echo and Slick’s youngest daughter J50 Scarlet along with Alki’s son J52 Sonic. We had a few good spyhops  and a breach as the youngsters played  and even a few caudal peduncle throws. Since the humpback was so close we took out some time to check him out  and though we had some nice fluke shots his identity proved to be  elusive. As other boats started arriving we heard reports of all 3 pods coming in and were excited to see some more of this rare sighting of a superpod. As we continued west we saw large males popping up in the current lines fishing. Some of them turned out to be L88 Wavewalker, K21 Cappuccino , L84 Nyssa and  sprouter K37 Rainshadow. We had one of the large males come right over to us and continue on under the boat coming up on the other side.What a treat that was to see him so close up. We had L54 Ino and her 2 sons L108 Coho and l117 Keta pass  by us. We saw more orcas in the distance and came upon a group of 7 going into a resting mode surfacing together and slowing right down as a few more started to come together  in family groups. We shut down a few times and could hear them breathing in unison. We watched them as they rested   marveling at all the orca dorsals we saw all around us. When  time came to say goodbye we slipped away without disturbing them and headed back to the dock.  Not very far along a humpback popped up heading west so we turned to check him out thinking it was the humpback we had seen earlier and had a pleasant surprise to see our old friend Stitch. With time growing short and a long ride home  we said  our goodbyes once again  and headed home still seeing orca dorsals as we went. Even the rain seemed to have cleared up for us as we had a blue sky around us on the ride home. What an awesome day out in the straits of Juan de Fuca.
Naturalist-lee

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