Laura C. | 7/16/2019 | M/V Sea Hawk | 12:00pm
It was a beautiful day aboard M/V Sea Hawk today! The morning started out with exciting whale reports right off Henry Island, right around the corner from Roche Harbor! As we made our way out to sea, we were pleasantly surprised by a female harbor seal with her pup in tow! The glass calm water allowed guests to see their whole bodies underneath the water’s surface and they were simply adorable! The tiny pup seemed to be enjoying the calm water today and the pair was splashing around and soaking up the sunshine!
As we continued on our adventure we found two families of Bigg’s killer whales comprised of the T77s and the 36s! Passengers were thrilled to see so many orcas surface at once and put on such an impressive show! There were dorsal fins of all shapes and sizes, including large males with strong towering fins six feet tall! There appeared to be some foraging behavior taking place, and at one point a harbor porpoise was seen in the area! As much as I was hoping to see this harbor porpoise escape unharmed it would also be quite a sight to see some hunting action from these top predators!
Everyone was having such a great time watching these killer whales in their natural habitat but we still had more wildlife to explore! We moved away from these beautiful animals to find some baleen whales! Our Captain heard there was a humpback whale in our midst and it didn’t take us long to see some impressive blows ahead! A lone humpback with an all black fluke was taking 1-2 minute dives while foraging for small schooling fish. Humpback whales are one of my personal favorites and this single whale consistently fluked for passengers right near our vessel and was so much fun to watch!
As the whale came up to surface we were able to see tiny bumps on his/her head, commonly called stove bolts. These stove bolts contain a 1-2 inch long single hair follicle that contain sensory nerve endings which act very much like cats whiskers. Since humpback whales to not use echolocation like our orcas it is really cool to be able to compare different physical characteristics that help these whales forage through the water column.
Our day on Sea Hawk eventually came to a close and we had a fun filled day out on the water consisting of our top ocean predators, Orcinus orca, harbor porpoise, a hungry humpack whale, harbor seals with pups, bald eagles and many pelagic birds!