Patch Has Company – Welcome Back #56!

“Patch” on the Left, #56 on the Right



Everett Highlights:

We left the dock with overcast skies but beautiful flat seas. Our regular couple of mallards (affectionately nicknamed Daisy and Donald by some, Fred and Wilma by others) were patrolling the marina. We headed down Jetty Island where we found a mature bald eagle, and then continued out to Port Gardner passing a navigation buoy full of cormorants. The Island Explorer 4 sailed into Port Susan passing occasional groups of harbor porpoise and harbor seals.  A second bald eagle was spotted as we were exiting Port Susan, this time an immature bird.  Then, the moment we had been waiting for – Captain Carl found not one but two gray whales between Hat Island and Camano Head!  It was gray whale #49 “Patch” and gray whale #56!  This was the first sighting of #56 for 2017!  The two whales swam together, giving us a few nice looks at their flukes and even surfacing once right off our bow.   We left the whales on the west side of Hat Island and continued back to the dock passing multiple California sea lions hauled out on the naval yard fence buoys along with lots of pigeon guillemots and goldeneye ducks back at the dock.

Seattle Highlights:


Our Seattle tour also got the pleasure of welcoming back gray whale #56 for the 2017 season. #56 is one of the gray whales that was involved in a skirmish with a few transient orcas in Puget Sound last April.  The Island Explorer 3 met up with Patch (#49) and #56 off the west side of Hat Island and watched as the two whales swam side-by-side throughout the encounter.  On the way home we got to see the USS Independence, a US Navy aircraft carrier that first went into service in 1959, being towed through the sound.  After many decades of service, she was decommissioned in 1998 and had been stored in Bremerton.  The carrier is now being transported to Brownsville, Texas where it will be dismantled.  That’s something we certainly don’t see everyday!  At the end of the trip, we even got a peek of blue sky above the Seattle skyline.

Mature Bald Eagle

Gray Whale #56

#56’s Flukes
Gray Whale Nearshore
Two Gray Whales Surface in Tandem
Seattle Skyline

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