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Sightings

100912AdmiraltyHG©Howard Garrett

Recent whale sightings in the Salish Sea

(Puget Sound, Northwest Straits, Gulf Islands and Georgia Strait)

Sightings Summaries Archives

Sighting report archives
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The purpose of Orca Network's Whale Sighting Network and Education Project is to encourage observation and increase awareness and knowledge about the Southern Resident Community of orcas (J, K and L pods), and foster a stewardship ethic to motivate a diverse audience to take action to protect and restore these orcas' critical habitat.

The orcas' steep population decline of 20% from 1995 to 2001 is a reflection of the problems and issues facing the greater Puget Sound marine and watershed ecosystems: declining salmon runs, PCB contamination, and the effects of a rapidly increasing human population including habitat loss and resource depletion. Through a volunteer Whale Sighting Network, sightings and observations of this orca community are gathered and disseminated to researchers and volunteers, and posted on our website.

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Click HERE for the most recent whale sightings report.

March 25

7:15 pm: Two (maybe more) Orcas just passed us on Fox Spit in Saratoga Passage. Heading north. (this would be a different group than the earlier pod. ALB) -Sandy Wiler Piotrowski

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5:42pm -Still lunging, splashing, ferry will go by them right about now
5:30pm - Got them! Saw them splashing mid channel north of Kingston ferry dock. -Janine Harles

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11:40am - Mark Millard, with George Peterson and Brian McLaughlin, all of WADFW, reports seeing about 5 probable Transient orcas in Elliot Bay, milling non-directional at the moment.

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10:30am - Heading north...Staying down longer
10:15am - All five heading north, Mid channel Alki. -Martin Moore

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10:14am - seem to be approaching Alki Lighthouse area. -James Mott

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9:55am - Got em again, mid channel. 5 Orca, 1 male, swiftly moving south of Alki beach. Watching from Rockaway.
9:45am - Just spotted on large dorsal about mid channel, south end of Bainbridge by yellow buoy marker. Now lost em. -Kimberly Sylvester-Malzahn

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9:30am - Another report of the orcas in Puget Sound came in from Mike, who was bringing a sailboat full of Colorado school students from Bell Harbor, Seattle, to Blake Island, and encountered the orcas between Alki Pt. and Blake Island, heading south at 9:30 this morning. When the orcas were nearing Blake Island, they turned and headed back north toward West Pt. It was the highlight of the day for students and captain!

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8:32am - Orcas off the Bainbridge ferry just now. Center of Elliott Bay off Magnolia. -Kari Wright

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8:14am - My husband just saw orcas, and 4 dorsal fins just as the Bainbridge ferry approached Elliot Bay! -Pamela Madigan

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7:55am - Small pod of orcas seen from Bainbridge ferry heading towards Seattle. -Ein Bryce Greager

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12:40 pm - Sandra Pollard, Mystic Sea Naturalist, reports 3 Gray whales south of Gedney/Hat Island, no direction of travel at this time. One of the three has been ID'd as #22.

March 24

Humpback Big Momma (BCY0324) cartwheelin'! -Taci Walter

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Update on tagged orca L84...24 March update - On the previous post on 20 March, the whales were southbound about 20 km north of Brookings, Oregon, near the California border. Our colleague Jeff Jacobson, who is based in northern California, was able to intercept them on the water that afternoon and determine that some of L pod and and K pod were with L84. The whales continued south, reaching Cape Mendocino on the afternoon of 22 March and then turned and headed north, reaching the area near the Rogue River at 1100 today. -Northwest Fisheries Science Center 2015 Southern Resident Killer Whale Satellite Tagging

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Look who's here on my first full day home: J-Pod! Here's J19, J41, and baby J51 this afternoon off Lime Kiln. -Monika Wieland

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J Pod! Today on the West Side of San Juan Island. -James Mead Maya

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3:00pm - HI, just enjoyed a lovely sighting of 8 orcas at Lime Kiln. Northbound, traveling, feeding, some breaching. -Cindy Jackson

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First J pod sighting of the year (for me anyway)! So excited to have caught up with these guys on the west side of the island yesterday, especially since my last encounter with them was in October. Since then there has been the heartbreaking loss of J32 Rhapsody and her unborn calf. However there have also been the exciting events of two new babies being born. We barely caught glimpses of the tiny ones yesterday, but we did get to see J2 Granny, L87 Onyx, The Cookie Clan, and this fellow pictured below - J26 Mike! I didn't fire off many shots from the camera yesterday because I was so excited, but hopefully there will be many more encounters with these guys in the coming weeks and photos and stories to share. Any day spent with orcas in the wild = a very good day. -Katie Jones

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Got to spend some time with J pod (and Big Mama the humpback, see below)... J pod was in a active mood too as they inched their way up the West side of San Juan Island in some pretty nice social groups. There were lots of tail slaps from Granny J2, Samish J14, Princess Angeline J17, Shachi J19, Doublestuf J34, Tahlequah J35, Hy'shqa J37, Suttles J40, Eclipse J41, Star J46, Notch J47, and Ti'lem I'nges J49, as well a few others. There were some breaches, inverted tail slaps, dorsal fin slaps, pec slaps, cartwheels, spy hops, aerial scans, and kelpings too. What an incredible day it was!...J50 is a goofy little thing that is really fun to watch. She was playing with J42 yesterday and being difficult for mama J16. J51 stayed close to J41 and was even right in the middle of a social group. -Melisa Pinnow

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3:43pm - J pod, OrcaSound hydro! -Connie Bickerton

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2:45pm - Listening on Lime Kiln and they are talking, talking, talking! I love it! -Kristina Louise Dahl

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2:41pm - Lime Kiln hydrophone!! (confirmed as J pod) -Gayle Swigart

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1:05pm - We've got three females and one youngster West side, HH (Hannah Heights, San Juan Island-ALB) area headed north. Cant ID them though. -Sandy Buckley

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10:57am - Orcas out past Eagle Cove, SJI! -Lindsay Gustafson

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3:15pm - just left seeing orcas while standing on bank at Baby Island (Whidbey), orcas were approx. between Cama Beach State Park (Camano Side) and Shangri Lai Shores (Whidbey side), I would say mid channel..traveling north. -Marilyn Armbruster

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2:30pm - Orcas in Saratoga passage off Fox Spit! I counted 4 I think. They put on quite a show for us for about 10 minutes, then they went under and we couldn't find them again. -Sandy Wiler Piotrowski

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11:55am - The Bighouse Family just saw 4 to 6 orcas traveling north just east of Sandy Point near Langely. They seem to be traveling towards Langely ... should be there at about 12:05 PM. At least one had a very large fin. -Roger Bighouse.

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7:00pm - we just watched some gray whale blows from Grand Ave Park (Everett) first one we saw and watched until about 7:30. Saw pecs/fluke...they were moving north closer to Jetty Island, west of the Navy base. We watched until they were northwest of the lighthouse at Anthony's restaurant, probably until about 7:30 - Such a beautiful day. -Shelby Hight Fifield

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12:40pm - Received a call from Finn Gatewood, on the Clinton-Mukilteo ferry, who saw one gray whale between the two ferries on the Clinton-Mukilteo run. She saw several spouts but could not determine direction of travel.

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10:30am - Graham Dewitt, 1st mate on the ferry Tokitae, just reported seeing at least 3 gray whales, north of the ferry lane, about a mile south of Hat Island. No clear direction of travel.

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...Big Mama was full of cartwheels, tail slaps, inverted tail slaps, and pec slaps... -Melisa Pinnow

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Big Momma (BCY0324) Humpback doing a pec fin slap in! You can see the bulge of her eye just to the right of the fin. Haro Strait. -Traci Walter

March 23

-#22 did a nice spy hop for us- To date we have confirmed sightings of seven animals: 22/49/53/56/356/383/723 -Michael P Colahan

March 22

2:45pm - Also a humpback... Just south of ferry. -Kimberly Sylvester-Malzahn

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1:55pm - Success!! We saw the humpback off the Kingston ferry. -Michelle Francke

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1:21pm - On ocean ave in Edmonds and just saw a large whale dive too, just south of the tug on the kitsap side heading south-SW. May be humpback. (confirmed as humpback.-ALB) -Michelle Goll

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7:30am - Saw a humpback while on the Edmonds Kingston ferry...it looked to be heading West. -Jason J Brunet

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Elephant seal pup! It's quite young - those are fetal folds, this pup may have been born right there on the beach (since Elephant seals do give birth on the beach). -Jill Hein CPSMMSN
A new photo of Elephant seal pup by Central Puget Sound Marine Mammal Stranding Network volunteer Jill Hein. First included in our March 21st sightings report. "Amazing news from our Central Puget Sound Marine Mammal Stranding Network - "Ellie" the Elephant seal who has been coming to a south Whidbey beach to rest while molting each spring for the last several years, is back - with a pup! This is the first Elephant seal pup we have ever witnessed in our stranding region (Island, Skagit & N. Snohomish)"

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Calm seas and reports of gray whales AND orcas in the area - two days in a row for orcas - how lucky can we be? We found 5 transients from the T046 group, heading south, then north, then south again across the Clinton/Mukilteo ferry lanes, so we had some good viewing time, what a special treat. -Jill Hein

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4:40pm - Last sighting from atop Richmond Beach, pod still mid channel southbound transect mid Port Madison and Carkeek.
3:25pm - Ts stalled 30 minutes ago out from Point Wells and are on a kill.
2:55pm - From Kayu Kayu...Ts southbound and Humpback northbound both out from Point Wells. No interaction. -Alisa Lemire Brooks/Orca Network

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4:15pm - Transients southbound, nearing Carkeek. East side of mid channel, but appear to be trending east. Viewing from just north of Kingston ferry terminal.
3:22pm - orca's staying in the same place just south of Point Wells.
3:03pm - orcas just south of Point Wells, still heading south. Viewing from Kingston. -Connie Bickerton

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3:15pm - Orcas visible from Kayu Kayu park in Shoreline. -Esther du Crocq

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2:46pm - Orcas are passing Kingston ferry now, mid channel heading south at steady pace. -Janine harles

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2:41pm - seeing whales from President Point looking north. Can't tell direction of travel. -Jonne Graves

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2:45pm - Heading out of Edmonds to Kingston on the 2:30pm sailing, spotted a pod off the port side about 10 minutes into the sailing. They were off the coast of Edmonds/Shoreline. -Vanessa Ryan

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2:34pm - Standing on the hill above Kingston ferry, seeing them just south west of Edmonds Saw at least 3 dorsals. -Kimberly Sylvester-Malzahn

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2:29pm - The girls are seeing them from marina beach, heading south but still north of Kingston ferry. -Janine Harles

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1:59pm - orcas southbound mid channel south of tanker as seen from Ocean Ave. -Michelle Goll

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2:00pm - from Sunset Ave N. In Edmonds pod is due west steady pace southbound.
1:15pm - from Haines Wharf/north Edmonds can see orcas are due west this side of mid channel, committed to southbound (as opposed to Admiralty).
12:32pm - Sweet...watching orcas passing Possession Pt mid channel and see Gray whale blows in distance on west side of Possession Point! -Alisa Lemire Brooks

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Watched and photographed this group when it crossed the area north of Edmonds and west of Harbor Point and the Picnic Point Area. This Transient Pod (T046s) was very elusive.. surfacing once in a while then making long dives and re-surfacing at a great distance away! Awesome to encounter and experience them where they belong: in the wide open seas! -Stu Davidson

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12:28pm - they made it to Possession Point, still heading south.
12:21pm - paralleling the pod, west of Harbor point. Group is heading south. -Stu Davidson

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12:09pm - OK finally found the orcas well south of ferry, Possession point park a good spot to be but unfortunately I can't go right now! -Rachel Haight

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11:45 am - Son-in-law is on the Mukilteo ferry and seeing orcas. Four plus a youngster. Transients? -Annette Colombini

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11:19am - They are just passing the Clinton dock right now. -Danielle Pennington

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10:05am - Orca pod (4 plus a calf) spotted 30 minutes ago off the shores of South Camano Island heading south toward Mukilteo. -Stephanie McCarthy Walthall

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9:55am - 4 Orcas in Saratoga Passage between Langley and Camano. Headed south, mid channel. -Sarah Malmstead

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7:30am - At least 6 orcas spotted off Bates Beach in Comox this morning. Completely breached so white underbelly sighted. One appears juvenile. Frolicking and breaching for approximately 30 minutes.
(Could be J pod up there again. Comox is in the upper NW side of Georgia Strait, where J pod has been seen a few times lately, and where J32 Rhapsody washed up Dec. 4.-HG)

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We headed back north to find our amazing gray whales - #49 Patch was the first to greet us, accompanied by #22, both in feeding pattern - 3 or 4 blows, then fluke (tail) up. Continuing northbound, we found #53 close to Hat Island. With such flat water today, viewing was exceptional, and we managed to avoid most of the rain! A great day - again! -Jill Hein/Volunteer naturalist

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#49 Patch, #53 - known as "Little Patch", #22 -Jill Hein

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Maia at WA State Ferries called at 9:40am with a report of four gray whales just off the Clinton dock, moving south.

March 21

3:30 pm - Saw two grey whales heading north in Saratoga Passage, off Madrona Beach, Camano Island. Traveling, occasionally diving, with flukes showing. -Spencer Fekete

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We picked up the 5 member pod headed south in Saratoga Passage along the western side of Camano Island. They rounded the southern end of the island and headed north into an area known as Port Susan, hunting seals as they went. -James Gresham

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Transient T046D in Port Susan. -James Gresham

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Members of the T046's Saturday in Port Susan east of Camano Island. -James Gresham

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2:55pm - Susan Marie Andersson (LWC docent) just returned to the Center with a group of whale watchers...pod has stalled directly across from Langley and appears to be hunting.

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1:55-2:25pm - Watching from Langley, pod is pod directly across from Langley very close to Camano. Stalled and circled for a few minutes then resumed southbound generally heading towards Camano Head. Langley Whale Center (LWC) docents having a good time taking groups of whale lovers down to the waterfront to see the orcas...many their first ever sightings. -Alisa Lemire Brooks

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1:54pm - I see 3 or 4 orcas across from Saratoga woods (Saratoga road NW) on the Camano side. -Kurt Schmidt

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1:30pm - T's ID'd as T46s now southbound near Pebble Beach. 1:00pm - Mystic Sea reports 5 Transients in Saratoga Passage circling around Elger Bay near the 4 Grays. -Monte Hughes/Mystic Sea Charters

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A great surprise, transients (T046s) off Camano Island -Bonnie Gretz/Naturalist aboard Mystic Sea

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12:57pm - Orcas meeting up with the Gray's in Saratoga Passage in front of Camano. -Tami Sandygren

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12:31pm - Orcas southbound in Saratoga right now at Camano Is State park. Heads up. Video to follow. -Will Murphy

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8:57pm - Sounds like one gray here at Hidden Beach. Feeding and blowing. -Nancy Culp Zaretzke

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6:30pm - Gray... between Woodland beach and Madrona beach, Camano island, mid channel. -Krista Paulino

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5:00pm - Received word from two different neighbors that a gray whale was seen near Polnell Point (on the east side of Whidbey Island and several miles east of Oak Harbor... -Steve Rothboeck

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1:27pm - Island Explorer 3 on scene with gray whales 22, 53, 356, and 383. Also on scene with the T46's southbound from Elger Bay. First time we have ID'd 356 and 383 this year! -Michael P Colahan

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12:03pm - Mystic Sea called to report those 4 Grays in Saratoga including 22, 49 "Patch", 53 "Little Patch", northbound at Pebble Beach heading towards Elger Bay, Camano Island.

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Gray whale fluke in misty Saratoga Passage.-Bonnie Gretz/Naturalist aboard Mystic Sea

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11:00am - 4 grays together between Langley and Camano!! -Janine Harles

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10:40am - Gray whale in Saratoga Passage across from downtown Langley very much on Camano side...northbound. -Alisa Lemire Brooks

March 20

5:45pm - A small pod of Orcas spotted off Diamond point headed east. Approximately 400-500 feet off shore. The pod seemed to have 5-6 adults & we think one small one...the wind was blowing pretty good out of the SE. They appeared to be heading into Discovery Bay. -Helen B.

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My colleague mentioned seeing a few orca this morning feeding on the herring that are spawning near Powell River. He was walking on the beach at Greif Point, Powell River. -Becky Burbank

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Orca watchers, here's the latest satellite track of tagged orca L84. 20 March update - As of the last update on the afternoon of the 16th, L84 was nearly to Depoe Bay, Oregon. They have continued to travel south such that by the 18th they were off Coos Bay, rounded Cape Blanco on the evening of the 19th and were about 20 km north of Brookings, Oregon, near the California border about 1200 today. Northwest Fisheries Science Center 2015 Southern Resident Killer Whale Satellite Tagging

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3:15-3:45pm - From Legion Park, Everett watched the gray whale just west of northern end of Jetty Island rolling around feeding, waving those pecs as he forages in the sandy shallows slowly drifting northward. -Alisa Lemire Brooks

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1:29am - Seeing blows straight out from Seawall Park, Langley. Far out, a bit more than mid-channel toward Camano Island. -Marie Lincoln

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1:05-1:40pm - from Harborview park, Everett watching one whale directly north of park, this side of channel first heading east, then turned north. By 1:40 was west of Jetty Island heading towards Snohomish River delta. -Alisa Lemire Brooks

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12:00pm - Saw one spout from the noon ferry. -Sherry Womack Lien

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12:00pm- Three gray whales spotted today in the Clinton/Mukilteo ferry lanes, first of all Patch #49 with #356 not far behind, and later #22 (our 'mystery' whale until closer examination of photos revealed the truth). Thanks to Madison Roether for her great fluke shots and to the other passengers on Mystic Sea who joined in the fun trying to ID whales from their photos. -Sandra Pollard aboard Mystic Sea.

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11:00am - Saw Patch and one other Gray south of Clinton on west side of Possession Sound. They were feeding when we left them.-Janine Harles

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Two Gray whales surface near Clinton Ferry. -Janine Harles

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9:11am - I'm currently working on the Victoria Clipper 4. The wheelhouse crew just spotted either a Humpback or Gray whale in the traffic lanes south of Bush Point. They also told me that Traffic reported an entangled whale in the same area last night. It took a long dive after it was first spotted so we don't know direction of travel. (If you see an entangled whale please call NOAA Enforcement and Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline: 1-800-853-1964). -Justine Buckmaster

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Elephant Seals - Amazing news from our Central Puget Sound Marine Mammal Stranding Network - "Ellie" the Elephant seal who has been coming to a south Whidbey beach to rest while molting each spring for the last several years, is back - with a pup! This is the first Elephant seal pup we have ever witnessed in our stranding region (Island, Skagit & N. Snohomish), and Steve Jeffries of WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife reports "Exciting news. We had another elephant seal pup born earlier this year on Protection Island. Pups now born on Whidbey, Protection, Smith, Dungeness and Race Rocks. 10-15 per year" - Elephant seals are one of the species definitely on the increase in the Salish Sea! These beautiful photos are by Jill Hein, Orca Network/CPSMMSN - thanks to Jill and Sandy Dubpernell for following up on this great stranding network call!

March 19

1:42pm - 6 whales. Only 5 IDs! #s 22, 49, 53, 56 and 723. I took pics of most of them. Two in one shot for a couple of pictures. It was really cool seeing them sort of move together. 11:43am - Three grays to the east of Hat Island. Southbound. -Cara Hefflinger

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Gray whale surfaces near Hat Island with rostrum and mouth above surface. -Cara Hefflinger

March 18

Got to spend some time with J pod today!! I had never seen resident orcas swim through Active Pass until today and it was crazy! Granny J2 and Alki J36 in Active Pass. The orcas were very spread out as they headed up Swanson Channel but Shachi J19, Eclipse J41, and J51 were the first to make it to the entrance of the pass. They then waited for the rest of J pod to join them. Last to arrive was Granny J2 and Onyx L87. Granny then breached and tail slapped and everyone swam into the pass together! As they traveled through the pass, many of the orcas tail and pec slapped, inverted tail slapped, spy hopped, and breached. Once they exited Active Pass, the orcas calmed down, spread way out again, and aimed for northern Georgia Strait. What an amazing day!!! -Melisa Pinnow

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J Pod today (pictured J27), Haro Strait. Sun, lively animals, great company, lovely seas. A great day! Random scenes from today. Both new calves were there... -James Mead May/Maya's Westside Whale Charters

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9:43am - It's been a good morning. I've been listening over an hour and every time they get faint/quiet for a bit, they come back strong. Also no boat noise. -Debbie Stewart

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9:35am - J pod is on the west side of San Juan Island, vocalizing on Orca Sound hydrophone right now! -Alisa Lemire Brooks

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Just saw two blows from Clinton ferry. Mid channel, about in line with southern tip of Whidbey. -Katie Davis Watkins

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4:50pm - It is now off Picnic Point. Confirmed to be a grey whale.
4:15pm - It seems to be swimming towards Possession Pt.
3:55pm - Possible grey whale spotted by WDFW vessel off Point No Point. -Casey Bayuk Wilkinson

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6:00pm - We watched a whale (humpback-ALB) sighting for half hour off of Meadow Point/Golden Gardens mid channel Puget Sound headed south. What a sunset encounter! -Michael Hamm

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Humpback whale in Puget Sound-Carkeek Park. -Alisa Lemire Brooks/Orca Network

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5:47-6:20 pm - whale surfacing and diving in approx 3 minute intervals, with 2-3 surfaces with brightly illuminated blows then dives. Has moved southwest of Carkeek towards northbound shipping lanes. Continued southwest with last sighting south of me mid channel Golden Gardens/Faye Bainbridge Park.
5:25pm - surprise sighting! Sitting here with Craig Rodgers from Austin and Jen Lawson from Seattle discussing dinner places and the humpback surfaced 1/4to 1/2 mile off shore from Carkeek. And just again at 5:28pm. yay! 4:00pm - from Carkeek just spotted a humpback mid channel looking directly over towards Suquamish. Southerly movements but suspect it is milling. This is same location one was seen milling yesterday. -Alisa Lemire Brooks

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Big Mama, BCY0324 in Haro Strait. -James Mead Maya

March 17

12:30pm - I saw three today! South of Possession Point #s 49, 53 & 723 (so I was told). We were on an Island Adventures boat - the naturalist ID'd them. They were milling, I'm not positive on the direction - they seemed to be heading south when we last saw them. -Meredith Stone

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1:05pm - Hi. I just saw a Humpback (or a Gray) whale slowly heading north between North Beach and Indianola. Just happened to be looking through the binoculars. Two blows and then a deep dive. Estimated to be mid channel. Possibly with a companion, a darker one. -Ben Blankenship

March 16



March 15

Killer Whales off the Mendonoma Coast -Eckles (ID'd as Transients by Dave Ellifrit/Center for Whale Research)

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This is the only photo I received of the Killer Whales that were off the Mendonoma Coast...first spotted by Fish Rocks (off of Anchor Bay), and traveling south. I did hear they spent some time near Cook's Beach (off north Gualala). Lots of CA Sea Lions here and of course Gray Whales passing by. Hope this photo helps. It was taken by Tom Eckles - he lives to my south and when I caught a glimpse of the Orcas I called him. -Jeanne Jackson

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We caught up with Big Mama (BCY0324) in northern Haro Strait today as she traveled first north and then northeast towards Turn Point. Despite the rain we had a lovely day out on the water with one beautiful whale! -Sara Hysong-Shimazu

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9:45am - I got a message that 5-6 orcas were seen south of me off Gualala CA and headed south. Turned out they spent some time hanging off Gualala River Beach. Jeanne Jackson did see a couple of the orcas. There was also a report of a mother Gray Whale and calf in this vicinity, too. -Scott Mercer

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It was very wet outside, but we found gray whale #22 (left flank) by Hat Island (Gedney) , traveling back and forth feeding along the shallow areas. #22 is one of the two known females who frequent our local waters, so it was a treat to see her. -Jill Hein/Naturalist on Mystic Sea

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11:47am - 1 adult Grey whale off SE side of Hat Island. -Noelle McNoodle

March 14

Distant squeaks at 10:55 pm... -Lisa Meoli

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8:10pm - calls on OrcaSound again. -Lindsay Webster

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7:53pm - Very faint, occasional calls on Orca Sound. -Mandy Johnson

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6:32pm - Listening with my 8yr old son right now...magical. -Naomi Herbster

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7:15pm - Louder calls on OS
6:25pm - faint calls on Orca Sound on and off the last 30 minutes
6:02pm - couple of faint calls on Orca Sound
5:55pm - J pod is vocalizing on Lime Kiln hydrophone. Sweet sounds of Saturday night! -Alisa Lemire Brooks

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Gray whale (probably #22) near Camano Head. -Richard Snowberger/Mystic Sea

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1:10 pm - Patchis back! Bracing themselves against the wind and waves as spray blew over the bow of Mystic Sea, our hardy passengers were rewarded by the sight of one of our returning favorites, Patch #49, near Port Susan. Heading back to Langley a little later than usual (2:20 pm), we spotted a heart-shaped blow off Camano Head, probably #22, another of our 'regulars'. Thanks to everyone for joining us on a rather wild but fun day! -Sandra Pollard, Naturalist

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2:52pm - from Mukilteo lighthouse park i can see blows looking north/northeast. Between hat island and everett. -Sara Troyer

March 13

2:00pm - I caught a very quick glimpse of the gray. East of Sandy Point and southbound. -Rachel Haight

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11:15am - Stephanie Raymond called to report a Gray whale sighting from the ferry to Clinton. One Gray east of Clinton ferry lane between Gedney/Hat Island and Mukilteo.

March 12

12 March update - Orca watchers, another update of location of tagged whale L84. On the last update on 9 March the tagged whale was off of Hoh Head at mid-day heading south. By the morning of the 10th he was near Sea Lion Rock where they turned north again and by that afternoon were off Destruction Island. Starting that evening, L84's tag shifted to an every other day transmission schedule to conserve power. Consequently, there is a large jump between that location and subsequent ones to the south with them being directly off Grays Harbor this morning. -Northwest Fisheries Science Center 2015 Southern Resident Killer Whale Satellite Tagging

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Four killer whales were filmed and reported on swimming near the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver's Stanley Park. -CBC News story.

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6:40pm - Turns out there were four Gray whales including #723 (ID'd later from video below). Three whales veered closer to the Snohomish River delta between the two wooden channel markers out from Tulalip shore, one stayed more towards us at Harborview Park, Everett but eventually made way towards the others! ...Beautiful evening meeting a mom and daughter who first spotted the one closest to us. -Alisa Lemire Brooks/Orca Network

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Two Gray whales journeyed northbound Possession Sound passing Mukilteo and veering northeast towards Everett eventually joining two others between Hat/Gedney Island and the Snohomish River Delta. -Alisa Lemire Brooks/Orca Network

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6:11pm - They are still continuing north. Much closer to the everett side.
5:45pm - Just saw two grey whales on the 5:30 mukilteo sailing to whidbey. Long deep dives. Looks to be heading northeast. Just north of the ferry lanes. -Danielle Pennington

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5:45pm - from Edgewater Beach area in Mukilteo saw 2 whales slowly heading north, about 1/3 of the way into the channel. Lots of spouting & tail slapping. -Dianne Riter

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4:38pm - saw them from the Clinton /Mukilteo ferry. Near southern tip of Whidbey, no real direction of travel. -Katie Davis Waatkins

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5:20pm - passing the ferry lanes heading northeast, directionally towards Everett.
5:05pm - both surfaced mid channel south of Mukilteo/Clinton.
4:35pm - Correction...milling or northbound. I am at Picnic Point and see them mid channel (sightline Clinton) moving away from me.
3:55pm - pulled into a side street and saw blows and backs of two gray whales in Possession Sound mid channel, southbound, north of Shipwreck. Between Mukilteo and Picnic Point! -Alisa Lemire Brooks/Orca Network

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3:04pm - Just saw two grey whales off the southern tip (possession point) of whidbey island. -Andrew Kathrein

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11:30pm - Heading south....At least that's what i was just told by witnesses, she said two whales. Half an hour or 45 minutes ago from sandy point. -Cara Hefflinger

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10:10am - Katie Harper called, she lives near the boat ramp at Mutiny Bay. Saw marine mammal, fin, tail & head just hanging around.

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9:00am Gray whales this lovely morning along Langley Beach on Whidbey Island in the Saratoga Passage of the Salish Sea. Luckily we were having coffee on the deck and heard them breathing up the passage. And then they appeared. Feeding on ghost shrimp by rotating through the water to stir up the shrimp embedded in the sand with their fins. It is quite a ballet to watch as these mammoth sized creatures pirouette horizontally through the sea. -Debra Campbell Designs

March 11

6:00pm - Thanks to Lissett Tschenscher for making us aware and to Ashley Keegan for sharing this raw video of a pod of Bigg's Transient orcas in English Bay, Vancouver BC this evening. Traffic reporter Trish Jewison spotted some killer whales swimming near English Bay during Wednesday's afternoon commute. Raw video from Global BC news.

March 10

I got to see two humpbacks feeding right off shore at Washaway Beach (Pacific County, Washington Coast) yesterday afternoon, one was much larger. A first for me here! -Dawn Bailey

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1:47pm - Pacific White-sided dolphin spotted from Tahlequah Ferry (Vashon) west of and between. -Ina Oppliger

March 9

10:47pm - Yay! Hearing them loud now. -Lisa Meoli

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10:47pm - Hearing them now clearly. -Megan Hale Raber

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10:43pm - Still activity on Orcasound hydrophone...wish I'd known about these years ago. Very cool. -Sarah Wells

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9:13pm - Hearing a little something on the Lime Kiln hydrophone! Thanks to Barbara Bender for the heads up! -Whitney Neugebauer/Whale Scout

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9:11pm - Started hearing J pod calls...they are somewhere in Haro Strait and can be heard on both Lime Kiln and Orcasound hydrophones simultaneous...faint audible S4 calls and echolocation. -Alisa Lemire Brooks

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9 March update - On Friday 6, March our colleagues at Cascadia Research Collective intercepted L84 the tagged whale and a few others off La Push as the whales moved south. They did not see L121 or any of the whales it would be associated with it as the other whales appeared to be extremely spread out. They were able to collect 4 prey and 3 fecal samples that day. The whales continued slowly south reaching Cape Elizabeth by the early morning hours of the 8th. Here they turned north and by early this morning they were off La Push before they again turned south, occurring off of Hoh Head by mid-day today.- Northwest Fisheries Science Center 2015 Southern Resident Killer Whale Satellite Tagging

March 8

Beautiful heart-shaped blow of Gray whale ( #53 or #723) near Possession Point, Whidbey Island, around noon. -Richard Snowberger

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12:39:pm - Gray whales #21 and #723 off Possession Point.
11:45pm - two Gray whales #21 and #723. We quickly lost them in the fog. -Sandra Pollard, Naturalist aboard The Mystic Sea

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Big Mama Humpback (BCY0324) Battleship Rock, Speiden Island. -Capt. David Howitt on M/V Peregrine for Maya's Westside Whale Charters

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2:45pm - Stu Davidson reported a whale, west of the north end of Edmonds.

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1:00pm - We received a call with a humpback sighting off SE side of Hat Island. (Possession Sound)

March 7

Bigg's Killer Whales (T137's) Fetal flinging. This is a very brief clip of a Killer Whale slinging around a Harbor Porpoise fetus from a recently killed Harbor Porpoise. I've watched Killer Whales in the San Juan Islands for 9 years and have never seen something like this. -Traci Walter

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11:45pm - T137s today...off False Bay heading up Island... -Capt. Hobbes Buchanan

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Happy to share that our first 2015 "Saratoga" Gray whale has returned! #723 was seen today traveling south along Whidbey Island, rounding Possession Point. Let's hope he turns around and heads back towards Saratoga Passage. -Jill Hein aboard 'Mystic Sea'.

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2:30pm - saw the grey again blow, stay on surface, then dive...south west of Possession...Due south of Scatchet head about 3 miles off shore. -Stu Davidson

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12:30pm - ID'd as 723. Possession Point. -James Gresham

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Saratoga Passage gray whale 723 creating a fluke waterfall as he heads down on a deep dive. At Possession Point. -James Gresham

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12:14pm - Right in front of us at Possession beach park. -Rachel Haight

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Sandra Pollard called: 11:45 am. Yay! Gray whale off Glendale, Whidbey Island, close to shore south-bound as reported by my hubbie. -Dick Snowberger, on board 'Mystic Sea'.

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11:45 am - First gray whale of the season! Seen just north of Glendale, Whidbey Island, very close to shore. Trying to get ID. -Jill Hein (Mystic Sea)

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Spotted this Gray Whale milling around the south end of Whidbey Island this afternoon - Specifically about three miles offshore from Scatchet Head and Possession Point (south Whidbey Island, WA) Identified as #723 -Stu Davidson

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Hi - saw your mention of the Pacific White-Sided Dolphin at the south end of Vashon. As you are undoubtedly aware, it has been hanging out by itself all fall/winter in the area. On Saturday it swam on our bow for approximately 30 minutes. -Steve Klump

March 6

6 March update - As of the morning of 3 March the whales were just north of Ocean Shores. They circled back and spent the 4th and 5th traveling north. They turned back south at Cape Alava early this morning. Our colleagues at Casacdia Research Collective intercepted them this morning off La Push in their research boat to attempt to collect additional prey and fecal samples and get a look at L121. -Northwest Fisheries Science Center 2015 Southern Resident Killer Whale Satellite Tagging

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6:10pm - The orcas, at least a dozen, have made a bit more northerly progress and still feeding not really going anywhere...mid channel about even with Jefferson Head.
5:30pm - they have been feeding the past 90 minutes, now making some northward progress but generally still eating with north and south movement. Stiill sightline south of Jefferson Head/Richmond Beach Saltwater park.
4:15pm - they've stalled just east of mid out from Richmond Beach Saltwater park. Look to be on a kill.
3:57pm - from Pt Wells/ north Richmond Beach...have spotted blows mid channel south of Jefferson Head to the west and Richmond Beach Saltwater park to the east...seeing three groups spread out, two a bit north. -Alisa Lemire Brooks/Ed Brooks

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5 pm - They are still feeding east of mid-channel. Just south of yellow buoy off Richmond Beach/Kingston. I'm in Kingston but can see breaching and lots of gulls gathering. They have been in the same spot for at least 45 min.
4:30pm - I'm at Kingston Ferry terminal. Saw them stall out about 15 min ago as well. Have lost them though. -Susan Marie Andersson

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3:15pm - Definitely moving north, spotted them just south of Richmond beach buoy. -Sue Surowiec Larkin

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3:00pm - Definitely northbound lost them as they moved northeast. At least 7. Last spotted line of sight north of Richmond Beach.
2:48pm - Now moving northeast
2:42pm - Trending north, west side of channel
2:35pm - Orca just south of Fay Bainbridge, 4-5 milling. No clear travel direction. -Connie Bickerton

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T099 with a piece of whatever they were consuming just south of Bainbridge Island. -Connie Bickerton
Sara Hysong-Shimazu Identified this group as the T099s.

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1:20pm - Orcas visible northbound from BI (Bainbridge Island) ferry. North of ferry lane, mid channel. -Amy Fowler

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10am - Ann Strandberg of Vashon Island reported seeing orcas off Gold Beach. Small group, 1 male, 2 females and a calf, heading south, probably hunting seals in the area.

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At 6AM this morning 4 Orca passed by Gold Beach on Maury Island...the south end of Vashon Island. They were heading south in commencement bay. There was one male, two smaller whales, most likely females, and one calf. Shortly after their passing, a large number of seals were swimming very close to shore in shallow water.....I can understand why!! -Lars Strandberg

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11:21pm - directly between Kayu kayu and Kingston. One blow heading south. I saw one blow from Kayu Kayu then nothing. -Karen Knight

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11:05am - Breaching! Halfway between kayu and marina beach Edmonds.
10:44am - Humpback whale off of Edmonds Marina Beach by the piling!!! .A little further out but still in front of dog beach...Heading slowly south east of mid channel. -Janine Harles

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1:30pm - I watched gray whales today for a couple of hours in Useless Bay. I was at the private access point on Shore Avenue. There were thousands of ghost shrimp washing up on shore. I believe there were at least two whales feeding. -Kristen Coombe
(This report was posted on the 6th but we found it after the March 7th announcement that Gray whale #723 was the first of the 2015 season of returning "Saratoga" Grays (see March 7th sightings report). Given the location and southbound travel of #723 in south Possession Sound, there is the real possibility Kristen Coombes sighting was the first day of the returning Saratoga Grays)

March 5

T060D a young male about to belly flop! It was an epic day on the water with mammal-hunting orcas known as Transients. We saw two family groups come together, make a kill, and socialize afterward! The way these orcas communicate, and work together astounds me every time. -Heather McIntyre

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We were heading north to Point No Point to do some salmon fishing this morning when we sighted a pod of orcas coming toward us, just north of and very close to the Point. We watched them from 8:30 AM until 10:00 AM as they spent time between PNP and Whidbey Island. They were in the tide line between us and Double Bluff, then they moved southeast toward Jefferson Head, then returned closer to Point No Point. They ended up heading south again and went out of sight. We could see their spouts in the distance in the bright sun. There were approximately 10 - 12 orcas, of many different sizes. There was at least one large adult male. Some of the time they appeared to be feeding, as they were close together and very active. Other times they appeared to be in a more restful state. We saw some spy-hopping and some tail-slapping. It was thrilling to see them for such a long time. Salmon fishing wasn't good (I'd leave, too, if I were a salmon!) We hope the orcas had better success! -Dianne Edmonds (Through photos, the orcas were identified by Melisa Pinnow & Josh McInnes: T137's, T037A's (plus T037), T036B's (plus T036) & Possible T099 was there too.)

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Orcas near Point No Point, Puget Sound. This was Incredible! After a huge freighter went by, several of the orcas lined up and surfed the huge wake. -Stu Davidson

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T19, T19B, and T19C in Haro Strait this afternoon. We were with them from 12:45 til 1:30 and they were milling around Kelp Reef. T18 was also nearby but off on her own. I heard that later they met up with the T60s and T2B. -Monika Wieland

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T19, T19B, and T19C in Haro Strait this afternoon -Monika Wieland

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5:42pm - Just saw two orcas right off of Madrona Beach Camano Island (Saratoga Passage). They look like they were after something went under a few minutes ago and haven't seen them come back up yet. They're heading south I'm guessing since I haven't seen them come back up. -Wendy Nelson

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Orcas near Point No Point - Puget Sound - Washington State -Stu Davidson
Melisa Pinnow & Josh McInnes ID's include: T137s, T037As (plus T037), T036, T036B's (Possible T099 is in there too)

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Until 6pm they were still milling back and forth same general area a bit SE of Pt No Pt! Then left for a few minutes, returned just at dark and they had made their way up much closer to the point. Connie Bickerton and I watched them surfing and porpoising in a tanker's wake! Total of 9 hours they stayed near Point No Point, 7 of which in a 1/4 mile area SE of the point, feeding and milling. -Alisa Lemire Brooks

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Got to see the pod from Pt No Pt this afternoon! Thanks so much to Alisa for helping to point me and my binoculars in the right direction. They were far off but very active. What a beautiful sight! -Stacey Dufrene Slatton

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2:55pm - Just saw the orcas heading NE south of Point no Point. Again out in the middle . Maybe heading north but, hard to tell which way they are heading! -Peter Sergeeff

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2:45pm - I traveled over to Pt No Pt and can see blows, dorsals, lunging, cartwheeling, breaching bodies still east of the point in southbound shipping lanes. -Alisa Lemire Brooks

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1:35 pm - Watching lots of breaching activity east of Pt No Pt, closer to the east side. -Sue Surowiec Larkin

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1:30pm - Sounds like Ts on OrcaSound in the midst of tanker noise, starting at 1:20 pm. -Gayle Swigart

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12:08pm - still watching from possession. Milling, breaching, lots of activity now trending north
11:21pm - from Whidbey at Possession head, looking west. 6 or more orcas, southbound on Kitsap peninsula side south of pt no pt, north of Edmonds ferry, 1 breach. -Sandra Pollard & Dick Snowberger

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12:00pm - Past 30 minutes the pod huddled up became less surface active while still circling. Same general area but drifting a bit north.
11:30pm - At least 7, including adult male. Circling in 3 groups...lunging w/still occasional breach. Too far for definite ID. Ts on a kill? I am currently at Stamm overlook in Edmonds if anyone is near and wants to join.
11:18pm - spotted them from Edmonds...they are between Pt No Pt and Eglon breaching, west of mid channel in southbound shipping lanes. - Alisa Lemire Brooks

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9:50am - Orcas starting to head south!
8:58am - Orcas spotted next to Point no Point out in the shipping lanes just frolicking around with there newborns....No real direction doing circles, estimated number at least 5 or more with newborns. -Peter Sergeeff

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5:10pm - I just spotted the humpback again from the train, just south of shipwreck point in mukilteo, quite close to the mukilteo side. -Caleb Thompson

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5:01 pm - Humpback at shipwreck traveling southbound, 200 yards offshore. -Rob Miller

March 4


March 3

Since our 25 February update we have continued to follow L and K pods onboard the Bell M. Shimada. During that time the whales movements have been confined to the coastal waters and northern Oregon. They were offshore of Westport on the 25th and by the 26th had moved to the nearshore waters off Westport. From there they turned south and by the morning of the 27th had traveled as far south as Tillimook Head in northern Oregon. From there they headed back north and by the 28th were offshore of Westport again. On the morning of 1 March we followed them north to near LaPush. Over the course of the 2nd they moved south and were just north of Ocean Shores this morning. One interesting aspect of their behavior over the past several days was that the whales have been extremely spread out - over several miles - both north and south and east and west. Thus, while we were able to launch the Zodiac and find a few whales and collect additional prey and fecal samples, we did not see all the whales on a given day. Consequently, we didn't run into L94 so we don't have any additional reports on L121. Because we had to be back in Newport by 3 March, the last day of our 21 day cruise, and given that northern Washington is over a day's run from Newport, we headed south on the evening of 1 March and spent the daylight hours of the 2nd transiting along the shelf break in Washington where we observed Pacific white-sided dolphins, northern right whale dolphins, Risso's dolphins, as well as sperm whales, numerous fin whales, numerous black-footed albatrosses, and a couple of Laysans's albatrosses. -Dr. Brad Hanson

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3:40pm - The whale (humpback) was just north of Shipwreck and close to shore -- last time I spotted it it was heading south towards shipwreck when it did a deep dive... I watched for another half hour before we cruised back to Edmonds Marina. The whale was very elusive...north then south quick surface and longer dives. -Stu Davidson

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3:40pm - humpback was blowing and fluking about every two minutes as it turned south out of sight close to shore.
3:23pm - from Mukilteo lighthouse beach finally see blows and lunge and peck slap to the south 1 mile or more. -Alisa Lemire Brooks

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3:04pm - Spotted just off shore north of Shipwreck heading north at about 3 knots. There was a bald eagle playing in the whale's wake. What a sight! -Kristen Hardwick

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3:30pm - A friend of mine sent me this report from today. "This afternoon while walking in Ft. Ward, (Bainbridge Island) I saw a whale spout and then saw it's back. Looked like a gray whale maybe. Only one whale as far as I could see. It was towards Rich Passage, just past the fish farm, heading in the Bremerton direction. -Susan Marie Andersson for Marcy Lagerloef

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2:50pm - Still northbound and now out of our sight. Mukilteo lighthouse may be a good spot in a little bit...t was staying close to shore heading north about a mile south of Mukilteo lighthouse.
2:07pm - Now northbound at shipwreck, about 300 yds offshore. -Rob Miller

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1:33pm - Humpback whale off picnic point again! Fairly close to shore headed south slow. When it passed us I'd say 1/4 mile off shore, looked as if it turned towards the southwest off Norma beach? -Toby Black

March 2

Some very active whales in Porlier Pass...12 or more in total with at least 2 calves, .this was at 4:30pm. They were traveling north in the Georgia Strait and stopped at Porlier Pass to play for an hour or so then continued north. Rick Clark gets the credit for taking the pictures. We were on our way home from fishing. -Robert Alcock
(Confirmed as J pod by Dave Ellifrit from the Center for Whale Research)

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J pod stopped at Porlier Pass to play for an hour or so then continued north. -Rick Clark
Dave Ellifrit of the Center for Whale Research identfied J2 and J38 as present in this photo.

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4:09pm - turned now heading north closer to shore... North Edmonds. Hard To see in the chop!!
3:30pm - whale blows close to shore north Edmonds.. Likely humpback.. Hard to tell yet but moving slow south. -Stu Davidson

March 1

As we followed the T124s and T086As. We found them around Beaver Point Salt Spring Island in Swanson Channel heading Southeast in a flood tide. They were moving at an average speed of 6.2 knots and covered a distance of 4.2 nm. They came into within 10m of a harbor seal but no interaction was recorded. They did short 15-20 second long dives followed by a 2-3 minute extended dive. -Josh McInnes

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Humpback near Edmonds today! -Steve Smith

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3:05pm-5:00pm - John Calambokidis of Cascadia Research was with the humpback in Possession Sound off of Edmonds and obtained ID photos and a skin sample. He believes it is a 1 - 2 year old juvenile humpback whale that looked to be engaged in feeding. We'll let you know if he is able to match this whale with any in the catalogues.

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2:35pm - We saw it North of Edmonds ferry , mid-channel headed south. -Tamara Walker

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2:05pm - Haven't seen it in about an hour. I'm guessing that if it continues on its path, it should be south of Edmonds by now. -Charles Vendley

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12:18pm - It's off picnic point now. Just showed it's tail for a deep dive. Definitely a humpback. -Rachel Haight

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12:15 - Jamie Grundhauser called while watching a humpback from Picnic Point, heading south about halfway between the mainland and Whidbey Island or closer to the mainland.

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11:03am - Jamie and I are up above lighthouse park in Mukilteo and just saw what appears to be a humpback surface and dive, headed south mid channel -Pam Ren

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9:30 AM - Gray whale ( confirmed humpback ) sighted 50 yds off picnic point, headed North along the coast. Feeding. Moving slow and repeatedly diving. Saw tail breach twice. -Adam Nelson

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8:10am - humpback breach and blows. From north Edmonds looking out about a mile with double bluff in background. Heading north towards possession point. -Stu Davidson

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9:00am - Whale sighting in Hood Canal this morning at Ayock Point. Very rare for us. This one had a small curved fin near the rear. Could this be a Finn whale? (Minke?) I think you are right. It was a Minke whale. Mitch Bogrand

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