Anacortes – Port Angeles
Incredible whale show today! The trip started off with a stop by Williamson Rocks to check out a bunch of harbor seals hauled out on the beach, including one pup. We then made our way into the Strait of Juan de Fuca to watch two pods of transient (marine mammal eating) whales that were hunting by Smith and Minor Island. They were really active and we saw numerous tail slaps, including one with a perfect shot of Mt Baker in the background. After watching the orcas for a while, we went to check out a bunch of incredibly active sea lions that were lounging on a nearby channel marker. They kept fighting with one another over a napping spot on the marker. We then journeyed back to the orcas, and wow, what a show. They were in the pursuit of a minke whale in the area. All the whales were traveling full speed ahead, at about 12 knots, and were porpoising out of the water every time. After no success, the orcas gave up and began hunting seals or sea lions in the area again. Truly and amazing encounter.
Gorgeous weather and beautiful views while watching whales today! Our trip started out by heading into the San Juan Islands, between Cypress and Blakeley Island, and up beside the Eastern side of Orcas Island, to Peapod Rocks. There were a bunch of harbor seals hauled out on the beach, including one pup, and two bald eagles perched on the “National Wildlife Refuge” sign. After that, we ventured closer to Canadian territories, off the coast of Ewing Island, to check out two bald eagle’s nests and then finally into Canadian waters, by Active Pass, to watch a pod of Resident (fish eating) orcas. The pod was identified as the J pod; the lineage of orcas related to granny (the oldest living orca). We watched them as they hunted fish for a while, with a perfect shot of Mt Baker in the background. After that, we started our journey back to port alongside Lummi Island.
Port Angeles AM
Had an awesome day out on the water! Another smooth, crystal clear was perfect for whale watching and we were rather successful! We left port following report of humpback whales handing out near Beach Head, so we started our day heading westward up the Juan de Fuca. Once out there we bumped into Divot and the calf, and got some looks at the baby that we have never seen before! Divot and the calf were swimming lazily along, and the calf got curious enough to give us a little spyhop….we actually saw his cute little face! We enjoyed these whales for a while, and then headed eastward towards Race Rocks. While in route we ended up seeing a Minke whale out and about! This guy was swimming along the tide line feeding, and gave us some really good looks. We then made it to Race Rocks, and were pleased to see various pinnepeds (Harbor Seals, Elephant Seals and Stellar Sealions!) as well as Ollie the Otter. We got some great shots out there and headed back to Port Angeles. On our way out we ran into another whale, identified as “Scratchy” enjoying himself along that tide line as well. All in all, it was a great day!
Port Angeles PM
Another beautiful afternoon in the Salish Sea! We headed eastwards of whale reports near Crescent Bay so we headed on down, feeling some fun little rollers on th way out! After going a ways, about a half hour, we had a VERY unusual sighting…. one lone sea otter floating out in the strait! This little furry thing was hanging out on a clump of kelp, and let us take a couple minutes for some good shots. We did get some pictures to send to researchers in the area. We were so excited!!! We enjoyed the Olympic views for a while, then decided to head west across the strait towards Race Rocks. Not so unexpectedly, we found our humpback friends out there. We really were swimming in whale soup there for a while, with whales surfaces on all sides. We did connect with Divot and the baby one more time, as well as identify one other humpback as “Stitch”. Since we were just east of Race Rocks we went on over to explore. We got a bit of a mix up in presence of pinnipeds, this time we saw Harbor Seals, Steller sea lions AND California sea lions! We also saw one of the bald eagles that wasn’t present this morning, and Ollie the Otter wasn’t around this time! Always interesting to see how wildlife changes throughout the day! It was a beautiful afternoon, and a great trip.