T2C Transient Orcas
We started down Guemes Channel passing harbor porpoise and cormorants, then north up Rosario Strait. There were plenty of harbor seals on south Peapod and a mature bald eagle on north Peapod. We continued north and eventually crossed into Canada for our whale sighting today, the transient family the T2C’s that aren’t often spotted here. We followed them for quite a while, from Java Rocks to Monarch Head where we also found one of the neatest sightings – a huge group of billy goats on the rocks near the water. After meeting back up with the orcas (complete with a few tail slaps and a spy hop!) we traveled south along the east side of Sucia Island and found more eagles and a California sea lion snoozing on a buoy north of Guemes!
Port Angeles Highlights:
Another beautiful day out in the straits even though it was rainy onshore thanks to the rain shadow effect. We headed off to find whales but had to stop at the harbor entrance to admire two male California sea lions basking on the buoy. We had a bald eagle perched on a pole outside the coast guard station allowing us great looks and harbor seals stared at us from the water wondering what we were looking at. We found our first whale not far off just north of the Elwha River in the current lines. As we watched it became apparent there were two humpback whales in a slow sleeping mode just heading west . We stayed with them for a while and then a third humpback appeared not far from our duo. Two of our humpbacks turned out to be one named Boulder and the other one was BCX1193 Zig Zag.The third appeared to be a new whale not in the official ID guides, but nicknamed “Hemlock”. As we continued on with out whales a fourth whale appeared and this humpback was one we know as Nike. We were able to identify them by the underside of their flukes as the raised them out of the water letting everyone see the difference with 3 black flukes and one with quite a bit of white. With Race Rocks not too far off we continued our search for whales and headed to Race Rocks getting beautiful looks at the granite lighthouse. Harbor seals were aplenty today dotting almost all the lower rocky ledges. California sea lions and stellar sea lions had their favorite spots on the higher rocks. A real great treat was the 5 elephant seals we got to see…two of which were hauled out allowing us to see just how really big they are being our largest pinniped. A mated pair of bald eagles sat atop the rocks survey their domain. Heading home and always on the lookout we saw a whale in the distance breach three times but he settled down before we got close to him . He was feeding and heading west so we eventually had to part ways and head back to port. All in all a perfectly fine day to be out on the water.