Pictured above: #53 Little Patch as he surfaces to catch his breath

This past weekend was one of the best opening weekends we’ve ever had. The weather was spectacular and seas were amazingly flat and calm. We caught up with 4 of the 12 local Gray Whales that return to our waters every March. Typically they all arrive/depart at different times during these two months, leaving us with roughly 6-8 animals at a time.

Luckily, through the whale identification efforts of Cascadia Research Collective we can track who comes back year after year and who comes back each year. Gray Whales are identified by the markings underneath their tails. All are like fingerprints.

In our area the population mostly consists of males who travel ahead of the females and calves. Two specific whales that we got pictures of, are known as #49 “Patch” and #53 “Little Patch.” As their names would imply these whales have a white patch or “birthmark” on their backside making them easy to identify!

#49 Patch, with the Cascades in background