Puget Sound

bk paige

Wishin I was on the Sauk
What were they feeding on Nick?

My best memory from Sitka while shooting a TV series was watching a group of Orcas training a juvenile how to hunt a porpoise. We floated for 20-30 minutes watching the action, finally the porpoise was on its side, exhausted snd worn out when the big bull came and took it down 10 feet from the boat.
Never seen the pod or porpoise again. The craziest wildlife scene I've ever seen and will never forget.
I think I have a few photos between film and digital, will have to take a look and see what I have.

Another time RT & KT and Alpine trout and I took a trip with @Chris Bellows out of Neah Bay for Blue Shark. We were past Tatosh Island maybe 20mls out and rough Going up a large wave right at the crest a large bull killer whale rolled right at the top of the wave not 20 feet in front the boat!
 

adamcu280

Active Member

Nick Clayton

WFF Supporter
Did you see or smell any oil slick? Any birds picking up scraps? Definitely Ts, likely the T50s. Mammal eaters.



Lots of birds around but didn't see them focusing on anything much related to the orcas. Was running south, headed back to the dock, when I saw some splashing. Watched for a sec then saw the black fins. Stopped the boat right there and we all just sat and watched. No oil slick seen or smelled. They were in about 120' of water amongst a bunch of crab pots. They never went anywhere, just crashing around on the surface the whole time we watched. Never got any sense of what they may have been feeding on. Quite frankly I am not really qualified to say with certainty that they were feeding. I'm definitely no expert on whale behavior. Based on what I'm used to seeing on the ocean feeding sure seemed likely though. They were working a fairly specific area very hard.....crashing up thru the surface at speed, often coming clear out of the water, but never leaving that particular area. Seemed like they were feeding on something pretty hard but that's just my best guess.
Even when I left them they were still sitting in the same spot. I pushed west quite a ways to give them a wide berth before heading back south.

I've seen orcas on the big pond a fair amount of times, but always just passing thru. Never seen them congregated and just hanging out in one area like that where I could watch. Was pretty amazing. The boat was just drifting and they were crashing the surface so hard it made an amazing sound. Truly incredible creatures and it was pure joy to get to be in their presence for a bit.

Was especially cool to see the young ones. Couldn't get an exact count but there was at least 2-3 youngins. One of my customers onboard was pretty into whales and made the comment that it almost seemed like the adults were teaching the young ones.

My job down here can be extremely stressful and at times overwhelming, but seeing stuff like that is always a great reminder as to just how lucky I am to get to do this every day.
 

adamcu280

Active Member
this was about the same exact time thbis morning

Spread the knowledge. Oil slick? You can tell they are t-pods by where located this time of year? Body morph?

Thanks

Lots of birds around but didn't see them focusing on anything much related to the orcas. Was running south, headed back to the dock, when I saw some splashing. Watched for a sec then saw the black fins. Stopped the boat right there and we all just sat and watched. No oil slick seen or smelled. They were in about 120' of water amongst a bunch of crab pots. They never went anywhere, just crashing around on the surface the whole time we watched. Never got any sense of what they may have been feeding on. Quite frankly I am not really qualified to say with certainty that they were feeding. I'm definitely no expert on whale behavior. Based on what I'm used to seeing on the ocean feeding sure seemed likely though. They were working a fairly specific area very hard.....crashing up thru the surface at speed, often coming clear out of the water, but never leaving that particular area. Seemed like they were feeding on something pretty hard but that's just my best guess.
Even when I left them they were still sitting in the same spot. I pushed west quite a ways to give them a wide berth before heading back south.

I've seen orcas on the big pond a fair amount of times, but always just passing thru. Never seen them congregated and just hanging out in one area like that where I could watch. Was pretty amazing. The boat was just drifting and they were crashing the surface so hard it made an amazing sound. Truly incredible creatures and it was pure joy to get to be in their presence for a bit.

Was especially cool to see the young ones. Couldn't get an exact count but there was at least 2-3 youngins. One of my customers onboard was pretty into whales and made the comment that it almost seemed like the adults were teaching the young ones.

My job down here can be extremely stressful and at times overwhelming, but seeing stuff like that is always a great reminder as to just how lucky I am to get to do this every day.
So cool! I think it's kinda funny that whales are your stress relief. Sometimes my job studying whales can be stressful and overwhelming but there are times when I get to fish and that makes it all better! ;)

Could have been foraging, or could have been social time. Both are equally important and potentially equally surface active.

Ts aka Bigg's killer whales (after Dr. Mike Bigg, who basically invented photo ID on killer whales in BC in the early 70s) feed on greasy blubbery mammals like seals, sea lions, and porpoises. Often the sign of a kill is a oil slick on the surface with birds scooping up the scraps. Not seeing that doesn't mean no kill, but seeing that definitely means kill!

Ts and residents aka fish eaters are different ecotypes and have a slightly different look. Pointier fin, larger saddle patch that's always closed, slightly downturned eye patch, slightly "beakier" head. I'm a little rusty on my individual IDs but the animals had the T look. I confirmed with my colleagues at the Center for Whale Research.
 

adamcu280

Active Member
Another thing re Ts: since they rely on stealth to catch their prey they often save the social showboating for after they've made a kill. It's hard to sneak up on a mammal if you're making a huge racket!

Parts of L pod were seen heading S off northern CA a week or so ago. Nick... Keep your eyes open for them heading back N! Photos of any kw you see would be super useful for ongoing movement, distribution, habitat use studies.
 

Nick Clayton

WFF Supporter
So cool! I think it's kinda funny that whales are your stress relief. Sometimes my job studying whales can be stressful and overwhelming but there are times when I get to fish and that makes it all better! ;)

Could have been foraging, or could have been social time. Both are equally important and potentially equally surface active.

Ts aka Bigg's killer whales (after Dr. Mike Bigg, who basically invented photo ID on killer whales in BC in the early 70s) feed on greasy blubbery mammals like seals, sea lions, and porpoises. Often the sign of a kill is a oil slick on the surface with birds scooping up the scraps. Not seeing that doesn't mean no kill, but seeing that definitely means kill!

Ts and residents aka fish eaters are different ecotypes and have a slightly different look. Pointier fin, larger saddle patch that's always closed, slightly downturned eye patch, slightly "beakier" head. I'm a little rusty on my individual IDs but the animals had the T look. I confirmed with my colleagues at the Center for Whale Research.



I appreciate the info! Definitely not my area of expertise!

Haha I guess stress relief isn't exactly what it was, but I suppose so in a sense. Charter fishing is a funny job. Running the boat I am responsible every day for finding and providing quality fishing for different people of different skill sets. It is a grind and it definitely gets stressful. I guess I'd say it's easy to get lost in focusing on those daily goals and stressors and lose site of the big picture... that being that even though it can be stressful, I truly love to do it and I get to spend my days on the open ocean which is my favorite place on earth. After what was an amazing day of fishing on a lake of an ocean, it was just such a treat to experience that and just kinda forget about everything else and enjoy such a special experience. Cheesy as that seems as I type it lol.
 

adamcu280

Active Member
I appreciate the info! Definitely not my area of expertise!

Haha I guess stress relief isn't exactly what it was, but I suppose so in a sense. Charter fishing is a funny job. Running the boat I am responsible every day for finding and providing quality fishing for different people of different skill sets. It is a grind and it definitely gets stressful. I guess I'd say it's easy to get lost in focusing on those daily goals and stressors and lose site of the big picture... that being that even though it can be stressful, I truly love to do it and I get to spend my days on the open ocean which is my favorite place on earth. After what was an amazing day of fishing on a lake of an ocean, it was just such a treat to experience that and just kinda forget about everything else and enjoy such a special experience. Cheesy as that seems as I type it lol.
I totally understand and feel the same way about my job.

Today must've been amazing in the water. I was dreaming about being out there on something bigger than a 5'10" fish. Saw some distant blows, likely grays, from the lineup. After spending the winter in the mountains, a sunny beach weekend is pretty amazing.
 

Gyrfalcon21

Honoring Vets

hope this link works, you guys may know about this trip-am sure Nick does, the offshore pelagic bird trips they take out of Westport to Grays Canyon? They had some great albatross and orca encounters a few weeks back-pics upper right if link allows on eBird. Perhaps shows the whales in behavior like Nick saw?

I need to hit one of these trips!
 
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bk paige

Wishin I was on the Sauk
Being a Captain or a guide brings on a whole new level of stress that many don't realize. You and only you are responsible for everyone on your boat. And they expect a certain amount of success, be it Tuna, Halibut, Coho, lings or steelhead.

Being a steelhead guide was the hardest job I ever had. It wasn't physically hard but was a mental drain. 12 hr days for 8hrs paid and unrealistic expectations from clients, for the most part.

I truly enjoyed my time in Alaska or the off season with sea run Cutthroat or Pinks where it was a much easier results and far less stress!

Just bringing friends out in PS is stressful enough way beyond floating the Skykomish that I have declined taking certain people out at times. They just don't realize how much responsibility there is in it.
 

adamcu280

Active Member

hope this link works, you guys may know about this trip-am sure Nick does, the offshore pelagic bird trips they take out of Westport to Grays Canyon? They had some great albatross and orca encounters a few weeks back-pics upper right if link allows on eBird. Perhaps shows the whales in behavior like Nick saw?

I need of hit one of these trips!
Those also look like mammal eaters. When you see tubenoses swarming around them like that it's pretty likely they're on a kill.
 
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