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Possession Sound Whale Hunt: March 19
Monday, April 11, 2016
By David Ortland
On March 19, the Vernal Equinox this year, I led my annual whale hunting trip out of Mukilteo On this occasion the famous grey whale Patch hunted us instead. Fifteen paddlers set out on a lovely calm day from the new park next to the Boeing pier in Mukilteo. I like to take a lot of paddlers because some are needed for whale bait. It works.
The park next to the Clinton ferry was our first destination, one of my favorites, because there is a nice sandy beach, warm bathrooms, and a sandbox with a lot of toy trucks to play with. On the way across we spotted 1/2 of a stand up paddle board (the whales are hungry). Lynn used this occasion to show of her stand up board/kayak paddling technique. It didn't last long however. Someone stole her boat away leaving her desperately trying to make headway on a piece of flotsam. Patch heard all the thrashing and started his approach from the N end of Camano Island.
Upon our arrival at Clinton we broke out a surprise party for one of the paddlers named after her birthday. I brought a chocolate coated clementine cake and Steve brought ice cream in a cooler. Such items should be regular fare on all WKC trips, but you need a good sized kayak to hold the cooler. The cramped Brit Boats most people paddle these days will not cut it. At this point lolling on the beach was an attractive way to spend the rest of the day but soon the captain of the ferry about to depart was yelling at us Thar She Blows. So we all scurried to the water for a hasty launch.
Nothing. False alarm?
Oh well, so we set a course for the N tip of Hat (=Gedney) island, a popular feeding ground for the whales. Some paddlers had already landed on Hat for a break (shh, don't tell anyone, its a private island). At about the same time a whale boats appeared, then stopped off the S end of Camano. We could see a spout through binoculars. Then a short time later a large grey back appeared amongst the fisherman. I called people from shore, another hasty launch, right into the feeding ground. To quote, from the Orca Network Whale Sighting Report (
A group of kayakers at the northern end of Gedney Island got quite a surprise Saturday afternoon when Saratoga Gray #49 Patch who had been seen further offshore suddenly surfaced in the middle of the group and decided to hang around while foraging on the bottom. The group did a very nice job of calmly backing up and giving him room.
We watched the fluke show for at least an hour. As we tried to leave, Patch finally caught up with Lynn the thrasher and gave her kayak a bump and a stinky spray of sandy boogers, as if to say he wasn't done showing off yet. Quite the prankster he is.
Afterwards, we washed the salt and spray from our lips with the fine craft beer at the Diamond Knot, the only way to end a paddle out of Mukilteo.
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