April 17, 2019

A Day with Dall’s Porpoise

Dall's Porpoise
Alexandria | Wednesday, April 17, 2019 | 12:00 | M/V Sea Lion 

Today on our trip onboard M/V Sea Lion we were treated to some great looks at some Dall Porpoise off Cattle Point.  We had just hung out and checked out some very fun Steller Sea Lions that were hauled out at Whale Rocks, when we were greeted by some enthusiastic Dall’s Porpoise. 

The cool thing about Dall’s Porpoise is that they are very friendly and fun animals!  You could tell they were swimming up to our boat curiously checking us out.  They were having a lot of fun riding through the waves as they swam across our stern. 

One of the noteworthy things about Dall’s Porpoise is that they are much more friendly and playful than Harbor Porpoise.  Harbor Porpoise tend to be on the shyer side, and often will dart down into a deep dive when they sense something bigger than them is around.  Yet with Dall’s Porpoise we are often able to get much better looks at them- just like we did today! 

The best way to tell the different between Dall’s Porpoise and Harbor Porpoise (in addition to their grouping and friendliness) is to look at their dorsal fins.  Today  we were able to see the white on their dorsal fins which helped us to differentiate between Harbor Porpoise and Dall’s Porpoise.  Dall’s Porpoise are black and white and have a dorsal fin that usually has a white patch on the top.

 

A few of our guests onboard got fantastic photos of these dorsal fins, and after we spent time with them we were able to really zoom in and see these white spots on their dorsal fins!  It was awesome to get to see them up close!

After we hung out with our Dall’s Porpoise for a little longer we continued East.  We ended up circumnavigating Lopez Island which was beautiful to see.  The sun was out, Baker was out, and the snow capped Olympics provided some great backdrops for our trip today.

This was my first time this season getting to see Dall’s Porpoise so for me they were definitely the highlight of the trip!  Their playful personality and unique coloring makes them quite a character in the Salish Sea.

 

Until next time,

Naturalist Alexandria