Monday, June 25, 2012
My youngest brother has been working in our area for several weeks and that has become a golden opportunity for some hiking and other adventures. Saturday, June 2nd, we went whale watching, he and I, and were gone for the day, from about 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
We left from Bellingham and the day looked to be cloudy and rainy, but began to clear about the time we left the harbor, and turned out to be a beautiful and relaxing day, though there were storm clouds on the horizon when we returned and the next day brought rain.
We were not far out Bellingham harbor when we saw numerous Harbor Seals on a small rocky island, the name of which (if it had a name) I do not remember. The captain steered us close enough for some good pictures and a good view of them, the closest I've seen them.
Further out in the sound as we sailed among the islands we saw several eagles and other waterbirds, but all too far away for decent pictures. We did however see a California Sea Lion on one of the navigational buoys in the sound. He waved to us as we went by.
Finally, some three hours out we saw a small pod of Orcas being followed by other boats and followed themselves ourselves for about half an hour before turning back home. There were four of them, a big male, two females and one delightful little baby.
We were informed that the Orcas or Killer Whales that can be seen in Puget Sound are of two kinds, transients who move in small pods and are only seen in the Sound for short periods and several larger pods who make the Sound their summer home and travel in much larger pods.
We were also told that the Orcas who live in the Sound are mainly fish-eating, but that the transients eat other mammals, seals, other whales, etc. We learned, too, that all the Orcas are identified by numbers and names, are carefully studied and watched.
That was the first time I had seen Orcas in the "wild" and though it was difficult to get good pictures because of the distance one is required to keep from them (200 yards by law), it was a delight to see them and learn about them and we hope to go again some time.