It was an incredible evening on the water; we started the trip off about a mile from the whales traveling towards us, so we decided to shut the motors off, drop the hydrophone and hopefully pick up some vocals.
After about 2 or 3 minutes of silence we were startled by a large male who was traveling with speed, got a quick breath and continued moving on…
Once the rest of the pod zipped by us the social behaviors all began, led off by a beautiful breach by J31 “Tsuchi”
Others began to tail slap, pec slap, cartwheel, and breach in several directions!
We even got to see a couple whales playing tug-o-war with some bullkelp!
We kept getting lucky throughout the night; even as our engines were shut down for the whole trip we continued to get close passes as the whales seemed to be surfacing next to the boat just to see what we were up to!
Once the socializing was done, the whales began foraging and chasing some salmon just off of Turn Point Lighthouse. Since this population is struggling to find enough food, the Captain and I took a moment to educate our passengers on the current issues and explained why we would be leaving the whales. There is truly no better feeling than to inspire individuals to go out and do what they can to protect the animals and ecosystems we all love.