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The Salish Sea was beautifully calm this morning as we set sail heading south in search of wildlife. We made our way towards Race Rocks, discovering a beautifully atmospheric scene. The deep call of Steller sea lions greeted us as we approach the marine protected area, their rumbling roars carrying across the water. Gulls and other marine birds flitted around the lighthouse, and harbour seals popped their heads up around the rocks and kelp.

Atmospheric view of Race Rocks
Atmospheric view of Race Rocks. Photo by Naturalist Emma with zoom lens and heavily cropped.
Harbour seals
Harbour seals at Race Rocks. Photo by Naturalist Emma with zoom lens and heavily cropped.
Heading further south into the Juan de Fuca Strait, we crossed into American waters and were quickly greeted by a lone humpback whale. It was making fairly quick dives, remaining fairly close to the surface. The fish it was chasing were clearly aware of the impending threat, we saw multiple individual jumping out of the water to try to avoid the giant whale! We were about to leave and were excited, though somewhat grossed out by an exciting sight. Right as the whale was about to make a final dive, a bright orange spot appeared right behind its tail: whale poop! Coloured by the bright red-orange krill that they eat, it was a fairly rare (and stinky) thing to witness.
Humpback whale head
Humpback whale head. Photo by Naturalist Emma with zoom lens and heavily cropped.
We continued further west where our luck just kept getting better. We found three more humpbacks feeding together right at the surface, popping underwater for no longer than a minute between surfaces. With so much time at the surface, we were able to get great looks at their tail flukes, side fins, and even their heads as they rolled around at the surface. Not to mention getting another view of some bright orange whale poop! It was a really special day to get to see such amazing behaviour… and bodily functions.
Two humpback whales and poop
Two humpback whales going for a dive. The orange colour near their tails is poop! Photo by Naturalist Emma with zoom lens and heavily cropped.
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