September 19, 2017 – Humpback Whales & Race Rocks Ecological Reserve
September 19, 2017
10 am Excursion
We departed the dock on the Orca Mist and proceeded in the direction of the Olympic Peninsula mountain range towards Washington State in search of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises). As we scanned the area we encountered a large Steller sea lion in the middle of the straight appearing to cross into the US boarder. We then looped back towards our Canadian coastline and caught sight of a large hump-shaped dorsal fin. It was a humpback whale! We observed multiple surfacings and tail fluking. Following this sighting, we proceeded to Race Rocks Marine Ecological Reserve. It has the second oldest lighthouse on our coastline. Race Rocks is a year-round haul out area for harbour seals and a winter haul-out site for Steller sea lions and California sea lions. What a beautiful fall day out on the water!
2 pm Excursion
We departed the dock on the Orca Mist and proceeded West in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We were keeping a close eye on the coastline, looking for any cetaceans that would be using the step drop offs to aid in hunting. In the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, we encountered two humpback whales. We had multiple good sightings of these individuals that had found large bait balls to feast on. Multiple gulls fled the scene as a large humpback entered the area. We then proceeded to Race Rocks Marine Ecological Reserve. It has the second oldest lighthouse on our coastline. We spotted multiple harbour seals that outlined the lower rocky outcrops of the islands. Vocal Steller sea lions and California sea lions captured our attention as we coasted around the protected area.