We’ve had the second coldest April on record this year, but the gray whales don’t care at all, and they have been great. The count for returning “Sounder” gray whales is up to 15 now including one we haven’t seen inside Puget Sound in about 22 years (CRC 543).

The 2023 returning Sounders include CRC 21, 22, 53, 56, 185, 356, 383, 531, 543, 2249, 2259, 2356, 2362, 2440, and 2441. As April comes to a close, we usually see these gray whales spend more time socializing with each other, presumably after having gotten considerably “fattened up” while they are here. Here is a video showing a social group of three gray whales swimming together on one of the nicest days of the year so far, with warm air and calm seas. The three whales in the video are CRC 22 (Earhart), CRC 531 (Gretchen), and CRC 383 (Cascade).

See if you can pick out which whale is which (Hint – I listed them in the order they surface in the beginning). Photographer/ Naturalist Bart Rulon