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Morning tour

It was set to be another warm day on the water and so we set out in search of whales.

Bigg's Transient Killer Whale
Bigg’s Transient Killer Whales on the morning tour. Photo by Captain Ian, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

The views did not disappoint, Skipper Alex described the conditions as “perfect”. With glassy-flat seas we set out to the south. Scanning the horizon we picked up the faint yet distinct visual of a Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whale’s tall black (dorsal) fin breaking the surface of the water.

Bigg's Transient Killer Whale
Bigg’s Transient Killer Whales on the morning tour. Photo by Captain Ian, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

The large black triangle was accompanied by what looked like a puff of smoke. The ‘smoke’ was actually the water vapour from the whales lungs as they forcefully exhale at the surface. As mammals, all whales must come to the surface regularly to breath. Whales are unlike many other marine species (like sharks and fish) that can extract oxygen, and release carbon dioxide directly from the water; whales must breath air just like humans.

Afternoon Tours

In the afternoon we headed out with two zodiacs towards the south. This time we found the same group of Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales inside the Port Angeles Harbour. The water was so glassy and calm, it was really amazing to watch the whales in an urban environment.

T77s in Port Angeles Harbour
Bigg’s Transient Killer Whales on the afternoon tour, in Port Angeles Harbour. Photo by Captain Ian, image taken with zoom lens and heavily cropped.

The group of Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales were identified as the T77’s, offspring and companions of T77. T77 is an adult female, born prior to 1981. As a plus, on the way to the Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales, we encountered a Humpback Whale in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. What an awesome day to see two species of whales!

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