Humpbacks Galore from Port Angeles, Transients and a Humpback from Anacortes

Port Angeles

AM Tour:

Absolutely flat calm waters greeted us this morning making anything in the water easy to spot. Many harbor porpoise were seen on and off throughout our trip. The olympics had a good amount of cloud cover but some of the snow capped peaks   managed to shine through occasionally. Our first whale came as a pair of humpbacks feeding deep then resting at the surface   in between. They were whales we knew as BCY0523 and BCX1251 Orion. A little farther away we encountered another humpback also feeding and this one we didn’t recognize. After enjoying their company we continued our search and headed for Race Rocks.While there we found a myriad of pinnipeds from harbor seals and Stellar sea lions  to even 2 elephant seals. Ollie the sea otter even made an appearance. Birds were in abundance including 2 bald eagles, pigeon guillemots , cormorants, and black oyster catchers. As our time grew short we headed south ever vigilant for any more wildlife   that might appear. What a great morning out in the straits of Juan de Fuca.

PM Tour:

As we prepared to leave for our afternoon trip we couldn’t help but be excited as the water was glassy flat. It wasn’t long into our trip when the first harbor porpoise made an appearance. We traveled west  and found BCY0523 and BCX1251 Orion still hanging out together feeding and showing off their flukes. As we watched we noticed more humpback whales in the distance and we eventually went to check some more out. One of the whales turned out to be BCY0324 Big Mama. It was  amazing to see all the exhalations  in the distance. Being close to race rocks we took a little break to scope out the action there and found harbor seals  with a mom and pup nursing also. Steeler sea lions were abundant as were the seabirds along with one bald eagle. We continued our search and it took us to the far west with reports of lots of humpbacks . As we watched exhalations all around us we had one whale throw a cartwheel and then another breached in the distance. Naturally we headed over to the breaching whale to find out it was none other than BCX1068 Split Fluke and her new 2017 calf who was doing all the breaching while mom ate. We stayed as long as we could watching breach after breach until mom actually came and collected the calf  after eating her fill and put and end to the playtime. A long trip out west  that was well worth it to see all those humpbacks and great aerial displays.

Anacortes


AM Tour:


As soon as the boat got off the dock we decided we were going to head South in hopes of finding the first whales of the day! We made it by Whidbey Island and then heard reports of some Orcas just a few miles up ahead of us! We arrived on scene and saw that the whales we were with were the same Transients we saw yesterday morning, the T46’s! They were cruising at a steady pace as they went along the shore line. We left these whales as we went a tried to find some more wild life and ended up seeing a few looks at a Minke Whale popping up off the bow of the boat. This whale was pretty shy and didn’t hang around very long, so we decided to go see more of those orcas we had earlier because they were heading North towards the dock! We were with the whales for a little while until we had to start making our way back towards the dock! 




PM Tour:


Headed west through Guemes Channel to Rosario Strait and then southbound in Rosario. Spotted our first whale of the day! A humpback whale who had been pretty erratic before we got there, then began a slowly southbound trek. Fluked a couple of times. Popped up right off the bow, we got to see his blowholes!  Then turned north up Rosario Strait to Bellingham channel. Spotted rhinoceros auklets, common murres, pigeon guillemots and cormorants. Off point Lawrence we caught up with some orcas that were hauling northbound, at 7 knots! It was the T46s (T46, T46D, T46E, T46F and T122). They cruised northbound the entire hour plus we were with them! Saw some pretty lucky harbor porpoise, as the whales cruised by them without even looking twice. Nice looks as they headed toward Canada. A lot of quality time with them before heading home. Stopped by peapod rocks and found several harbor seals both hauled out and in the water, numerous black oystercatchers, and four bald eagles!  Awesome evening on the water!

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Humpbacks Galore in Port Angeles, Double-Header in Anacortes

Port Angeles

AM Tour:

Absolutely flat calm waters greeted us this morning making anything in the water easy to spot. Many harbor porpoise were seen on and off throughout our trip. The olympics had a good amount of cloud cover but some of the snow capped peaks   managed to shine through occasionally. Our first whale came as a pair of humpbacks feeding deep then resting at the surface   in between. They were whales we knew as BCY0523 and BCX1251 Orion. A little farther away we encountered another humpback also feeding and this one we didn’t recognize. After enjoying their company we continued our search and headed for Race Rocks.While there we found a myriad of pinnipeds from harbor seals and Stellar sea lions  to even 2 elephant seals. Ollie the sea otter even made an appearance. Birds were in abundance including 2 bald eagles, pigeon guillemots , cormorants, and black oyster catchers. As our time grew short we headed south ever vigilant for any more wildlife   that might appear. What a great morning out in the straits of Juan de Fuca.

PM Tour:

As we prepared to leave for our afternoon trip we couldn’t help but be excited as the water was glassy flat. It wasn’t long into our trip when the first harbor porpoise made an appearance. We traveled west  and found BCY0523 and BCX1251 Orion still hanging out together feeding and showing off their flukes. As we watched we noticed more humpback whales in the distance and we eventually went to check some more out. One of the whales turned out to be BCY0324 Big Mama. It was  amazing to see all the exhalations  in the distance. Being close to race rocks we took a little break to scope out the action there and found harbor seals  with a mom and pup nursing also. Steeler sea lions were abundant as were the seabirds along with one bald eagle. We continued our search and it took us to the far west with reports of lots of humpbacks . As we watched exhalations all around us we had one whale throw a cartwheel and then another breached in the distance. Naturally we headed over to the breaching whale to find out it was none other than BCX1068 Split Fluke and her new 2017 calf who was doing all the breaching while mom ate. We stayed as long as we could watching breach after breach until mom actually came and collected the calf  after eating her fill and put and end to the playtime. A long trip out west  that was well worth it to see all those humpbacks and great aerial displays.
Anacortes

AM Tour:

As soon as the boat got off the dock we decided we were going to head South in hopes of finding the first whales of the day! We made it by Whidbey Island and then heard reports of some Orcas just a few miles up ahead of us! We arrived on scene and saw that the whales we were with were the same Transients we saw yesterday morning, the T46’s! They were cruising at a steady pace as they went along the shore line. We left these whales as we went a tried to find some more wild life and ended up seeing a few looks at a Minke Whale popping up off the bow of the boat. This whale was pretty shy and didn’t hang around very long, so we decided to go see more of those orcas we had earlier because they were heading North towards the dock! We were with the whales for a little while until we had to start making our way back towards the dock! 


PM Tour:

Headed west through Guemes Channel to Rosario Strait and then southbound in Rosario. Spotted our first whale of the day! A humpback whale who had been pretty erratic before we got there, then began a slowly southbound trek. Fluked a couple of times. Popped up right off the bow, we got to see his blowholes!  Then turned north up Rosario Strait to Bellingham channel. Spotted rhinoceros auklets, common murres, pigeon guillemots and cormorants. Off point Lawrence we caught up with some orcas that were hauling northbound, at 7 knots! It was the T46s (T46, T46D, T46E, T46F and T122). They cruised northbound the entire hour plus we were with them! Saw some pretty lucky harbor porpoise, as the whales cruised by them without even looking twice. Nice looks as they headed toward Canada. A lot of quality time with them before heading home. Stopped by peapod rocks and found several harbor seals both hauled out and in the water, numerous black oystercatchers, and four bald eagles!  Awesome evening on the water!

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Humpbacks, Transient Orcas, and a Minke Whale




Anacortes
10AM Tour
Blue skies all around and glimpses of an osprey just before we left Cap sante!!! We headed out guemes channel up into Rosario straight stopping at Pea pod rocks for our first wildlife. Here we found a large group of harbor seals and even a few immature bald eagles. After that we continued north through Barnes and Clark islands stopping at Matia island for another bald eagle. We continued from there to Sucia island where we found an eaglet in its nest!!! From there we continued north passed Patos island toward Saturna island. We got a call at this point and quickly turned down Boundary pass. In no time at all we joined up with BCX0870 a humpback known as divot. He gave us a great show and showed his flukes a bunch of times affording us some great looks. After that we headed inner island passing another eagle on White rock, heading through pole pass and then back to the dock!!! It was an amazing day!!!!

3:30 PM Tour
Calm seas and sunny skies made for easy cruising through the islands this evening. We made a stop at Peapod Rocks where dozens of harbor seals were laid out, including at least one mom and pup. We cut deep into Canadian waters tonight on the search for whales. In the middle of Georgia Strait, east of Vancouver city, we found the humpback whale Divit (BCX0870) cruising north. We stayed long enough to get several incredible views of his fluke as he dove deep before we cruised even further north to meet up with some transients. We met up with the T37As and T77s as they raced south down the Strait. Further south T51 was northbound, and when the two groups met cruising behavior turned into social hour for all the transient orcas present. Tail slaps, breaching, orcas swimming upside-down, it was hard to know where to look as they actively zigzagged in every direction! We reluctantly left the pods to make our way back towards Anacortes, taking in views of Mount Baker and the San Juans all the way home.

Port Angeles

With a brisk and sunny day we headed out in search of whales. We checked out the salmon pens with the salmon jumping all over and seals lurking outside the pens. More harbor seals greeted us at Ediz Hook along with a lone adult bald eagle.. As we headed northwest in the straits the Olympic mountains started to peak through the clouds. It wasn’t long before we spotted our first whale and he is one we know well. He is a humpback named Stitch. we enjoyed his company for awhile and even saw a tail throw from him. There were some other humpbacks in the area so we went and checked them out. We had two that had long down times so we decided to head over to Race rocks and check out the lighthouse and all the wildlife there. Tons of harbor seals dotted the rocks and pigeon guillemots flew around them. We also saw 4 Steeler sea lions and one of them has a massive wound on his side either from a shark or an orca attack so we know he was one lucky survivor. As we headed back across the straights we found our fourth humpback whale and though we didn’t know who he was he also looked like a survivor as he had orca rake marks on both his top and bottom flukes indicating he was probably attacked as a calf. We got to see him fluke a few times and had some really nice looks at him as he came close to the boat. By that time our time was running short and we had to head towards port after a wonderful day spent with our humpback friends.

La Conner

Sunny and a little bumpy in the Strait.  Saw great blue herons, eagles, caspian terns, black oystercatchers as we left the slough to the south. Pigeon guillemots as we went under the bridge.  We sailed between Colville and Castle Rock and then behind Long Island and found two bald eagles perched in trees. One took flight and repositioned to another tree.  Harbor seals on mummy rocks.  Eagle at entrance to Fishermans bay.  Lunch on Lopez, then south down San Juan Channel and out to the strait.   We found an elusive minke whale south of Salmon Bank, then headed south to Hein Bank,  Eastern Bank, and Partridge Bank. There was plenty of bird activity on Partridge Bank.  North to Minor Island – three bald eagles and several harbor seals.

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