We’ve had a great month of May so far with warm sunny weather and lots of whales. Humpback whales are starting to roll in a little more each week, and we are seeing a fair share of minke whales. Bigg’s killer whales in several families have been abundant so far this spring too, and occasionally we have seen Bigg’s killer whale superpods. We still have some gray whales around, but some are also starting to depart Puget Sound to continue their migrations to the north.
We had two unique days in a row this week spotting gray whales that appeared to be on their way out of Puget Sound. On May 14 we spotted CRC 531 (Gretchen) swimming with purpose northward near Bush Point and it definitely looked like she was heading out. The very next day we spotted two gray whales doing the same thing in almost the same spot! This time it was CRC 22 (Earhart), and CRC 543. While It’s always sad to see the gray whales depart, it is also very exciting to witness “The” departure day and share that information with the researchers at Cascadia Research Collective. Only time will tell if those were the actual departure days, but once one of our “Sounder” gray whales makes it’s way over to the west side of Whidbey Island, north of Useless Bay, they usually don’t turn around. It is rare for us to witness a gray whale’s actual departure and that is valuable information to share with researchers. Photographer/ Naturalist Bart Rulon