SEVENTY48 2022: Humpbacks in Dalco

We didn’t get a photo. Although, I’m not sure what would have shown up if we did. So I’ll try to paint a picture.

Imagine if you will…

It was a few minutes after sunset, and into civil twilight. But that evening, the cloud cover was so thick, that we couldn’t really track the sun. So our civil twilight that night was an ethereal world of shades of silver and navy and grey and black. It looked a little like we were paddling through an old-fashioned silver print photo. The Gig Harbor shoreline in front of us was nearly black. Blue, white, silver, and gold houselights dotting the hillside. The clouds overhead ranged from white to deep grey. The water around us had a silvery sheen as if we were paddling through liquid hematite.

There She Blows!

And then Travis said, “There. Spout. Just to the left of the green-roof house.” We immediately started scanning for signs of the humpbacks that have been spending time in the area this month. Travis and Lara both saw the next spout, along with the dark dorsal of the humpback as it re-submerged. By the third spout, all three of us saw it. We watched in awe as the juvenile humpback spouted again and then flipped its fluke into the air as it dove. It had traveled a nearly perfectly perpendicular path to ours, swimming from left to right in front of the Gig Harbor shoreline 200 yards in front of us.

We commented on how wonderful it was that we got to see it. Travis shared that the first spout he saw was significantly larger. He supposed that this may be the mother and juvenile that have been reported in the area. He thought that the first spout he saw was the mother, who spouts higher and can stay under longer with her greater lung capacity.

And Again…

Melissa spotted something in the water at our 2 o’clock and pointed it out in her most eloquent way, “um… there… something… maybe porpoises? I think it’s porpoises.” Several harbor porpoises had surfaced relatively close by. We love these cute little creatures and normally greet them warmly. They were their own, nearly black grey color against the hematite of the water.

Just then, we heard a humpback surface again. Behind us. Possibly RIGHT behind us. It’s hard to gauge distance on a still night on the water, but that breath was extremely loud, and directly from the water behind us. Travis twisted first right, then left in his cockpit trying to see where the whale was but couldn’t see the spout or whale. Travis said, “So I think the whale is straight behind us, and I think we may have just had a humpback swim right under our kayaks”. A few moments later we heard another breath from the humpback, still straight behind us but farther away.

We continued paddling towards Gig Harbor until we picked up the northbound current. Then we headed north across Dalco, into Colvos, heading for our resting spot for the night and exhilarated by the visit we’d received from the humpbacks.

Stay tuned for the next installment – Launches and Landings


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