Stitch puts on a show

Port Angeles

Highlights

3 Humpbacks
CRC15994 Stitch …Peduncle throws and lob tails
MMX0006
BCY0523
Race Rocks Lighthouse
Steller and California Sea Lions
Elephant Seal
2 adult Bald Eagles

CRC15994 Stitch

CRC15994 Stitch

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 CRC15994 Stitch

BCY0523

MMX0006

BCY0523 ..orca rake marks

A day before the big storms hit and the sky was clear but breezy with a chill in the air. Lots of large freighters and tankers were moored in the harbor as we wove  our way around them. The pilot boat was headed out to meet another incoming cargo ship. As we rounded Ediz Hook 2 mature bald eagles were spotted, one on a log and another one perched high up on a pole near the rock wall. Harbor seals were playing near shore. We made our way across the strait of Juan de Fuca  in a northwest direction heading into Canadian waters. Not long after that the first exhalation was spotted and it turned out to be a Humpback whale we know well as CRC15994 Stitch. We enjoyed his company for quite awhile while he dove and fed staying near the boat making it a delight to watch him. As we prepared to say goodbye and go look for more whales Stitch apparently wasn’t quite ready to part company with us as he threw a huge caudal peduncle throw also known as a cartwheel. Well how could we say no to that? He followed it up with another one and then rolled over showing us his pectoral fins. He was in quite the mood as he lay upside down lob tailing right near the boat. With the engines shut down we could hear the huge reverberations as his tail smacked the water over and over. Water was flying everywhere as he pec slapped and lobtailed upside down. Rolling over he continued to amuse us over and over as we lost track of how many times  he did this. At last he seemed to be satisfied and continued on his way  as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened!!! We left him to has feeding as we searched for more whales.We detoured through Race Rocks ecological preserve getting some great looks at the lighthouse and checking out the wildlife there . We had California Sea Lions scattered about and we could hear them barking away. A small group of harbor seals lay on an outlying ledge. As we continued through lots of cormorants both adults and juveniles lined  one of the rocks preparing for their migration. We had tons (literally) of Steller sea lions sparring and growling and sleeping in the fall sun. One lone elephant seal  was also sound asleep on the very top of the rocks blending in amazingly well. We pushed onwards and turned towards Constance Bank and there we came across 2 more Humpbacks side by side. They were also in feed mode diving and resurfacing in no obvious direction once right next to the boat. With flukes showing we could identify them as MMX0006 a whale we have seen quite a few times this summer and another whale BCY0523 who shows rake marks and damage on his tail from an orca attack at some point in his life. We watched these two for as long as time would allow before heading south and back towards home. A lot of first time whalewatchers had a wonderful treat getting to see 3 humpbacks  one whom  put on an astounding show amazing us all.
Naturalist ~ Lee

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