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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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To find viewpoints along shorelines from Deception Pass to Olympia, go to:
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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.

Summarized Sightings map HERE

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January 7

Harbor Porpoise - Probably 50 Harbor Porpoises off Sunnyside beach in Steilacoom. Lots of jumping and milling. Very active! All spread out. But generally towards Chambers Bay. I can see some at Anderson, some at Mcneill and some at Chambers now. -Paul Allen
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Sea Otters - January 7 - South Puget Sound - 11:00 a.m. - there were TWO SEA otters heading south east into Eld Inlet and toward the tip of Cooper Point. Traveling and on a mission. Sneaky and fast. -Kim Merriman

January 6

Southern Residents K26 Lobo & others passing Point Robinson, Vashon Island, Puget Sound. (K26 was traveling along little brother K42, K34, & one other at this time) -Photo by Marla Smith, January 6, 2017
(ID by Melisa Pinnow, Center for Whale Research)
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January 6 - Puget Sound - 4:18 p.m. - 3 to 4 orcas just south of Point Wells on west side heading north. (Sightline Point Wells...viewing from Kingston). -Darlene Moneypenny
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4:14 p.m. - Just south of Kingston along the shore from an Edmonds perspective. -Greg Heiss
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3:36 p.m. - off President Point, Kitsap, south of Kingston, mid channel, heading north. -Joanne Graves
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3:29 p.m. - Several orcas as well as porpoise off of Carkeek park traveling north, mid channel. -Kevin Green
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2:54 p.m. - Some headed toward mid channel.
2:45 p.m. - straight out from Discovery Point (West Point lighthouse, Discovery Park, Magnolia) mid to west channel, at least two males. Spread out, northbound. -Sandra Prow
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2:15 p.m. - three orcas heading north, mid-Sound; one breaching; see from Yeomalt Point Drive, east side of Bainbridge island. -Jane Rein
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1:40 p.m. - Just north of Alki Point. Headed north. -Katy Coffey
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K33 - Fom Alki Point around 1:15pm. -Photo by Monica Zaborac, January 6, 2017
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1:17 p.m. - Several traveling very spread out between Vashon and North end of Blake. NB. -Pia VanHanen
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1:15 pm - Jeff Hogan called...group he is seeing is between Blake Island and Alki Point, thinks will pass more on West Seattle side...northbound. (Jeff called later to say he could ID members of the K12s and K14s so far from his photos)
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1:14 p.m. - I saw them from Emma Schmitz Parkabout 5 mins ago. Heading north. -Casandra Bergkamp
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Tanker, K pod member & researchers backdropped Kitsap Peninsula - Taken from Emma Schmitz Memorial Park, West Seattle. -Photo by Lorne Stitt, January 6, 2017
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K-26 Passing ALki Point at 1:11 PM. K33 Passing Constellation Park at 1:06 PM just west in channel, northbound. Taken from shore at Constellation Park. Just west in channel, NB.
12:42 p.m. - Passing Blake Island during Duwamish Head race. Northbound West in Channel. Taken from Me Kwa Mooks. -Photo by Kersti Muul, January 6, 2018
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12:43 p.m. - stringing out from Vashon dock to north in front of Blake Island. Should be visible from Lincoln Pk. -Ellen Cole
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12:30 p.m. - still north of Dilworth close to Vashon shore; from the V-F ferry. -Shannon Kachel
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12:35 p.m. - at Dolphin Point and nearing Vashon ferry lanes.
12:25 p.m. -
I'm on Vashon ferry and can see lead group north of Dilworth. Mark Sears research boat with them. -Amy Carey
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Spotted from Fauntleroy on the ferry at 12:24. Close to Vashon, small boat nearby. -Andrew Malinak
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Spotted!! 12:15 - Heading north just off Dilworth...they are kind of spread out. But moving pretty fast. I grew up in the Midwest and have always been infatuated with Killer Whales. When I moved to Seattle 2.5 years ago all I could hope for was to see these amazing animals in the wild. I thought I was never going to get lucky enough to see something like I saw today. I cried. At least twice. This network of people made it possible. And to the people at Point Robinson that told me where to go, let me chase them along the beach & use their binoculars, I am forever grateful. So from the bottom of my heart, Thank you! -Jessica Eckler
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K26 - Point Robinson, South Vashon Island at noon. -Photo by Pam Nevis Uncruise Guide, January 6, 2017 (Sent in by Bethany Ryals)
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11:30 a.m. - Watching from Normandy Park Cove they are directly west going up the north side of Vashon towards Tramp Harbor. -Roxane Jackson Johnson
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11:15 a.m. - beautiful close pass by Pt.Robinson, spread out across the bay, some pretty close to shore. Traveling northbound, fast, some surface play! Amazing. K33 Tika (of the K12s) northbound passing Point Robinson. K34 Cali (of the K13s) - Point Robinson. The two swimming side by side were on their way down as K26 was surfacing, here is a clear pic of his (K26) saddle when he was all the way up...K42 Kelp (of the K14s born 2008). And, as he went down, there was a fourth traveling with that group that surfaced very quickly...K21 Cappuccino (who associates w/the K16s) - Point Robinson. -Marla Smith
(IDs by Melisa Pinnow, Center for Whale Research)
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11:00 a.m. - Approaching Point Robinson on Vashon side. -Janna Ignatow
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10:50 a.m. - Jeff Hogan called to relay report whales heading east (northbound) along Maury Island towards Point Robinson.
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Lone male travelling north at Gold Beach, Vashon Island at 10.45. -Burt Miller, WSF
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10:20 a.m - 4-5 w/large male mid-channel at Dash Pt pier heading slowly north. -Mary Hogan
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9:56 a.m. - there's at least one in Commencement Bay, up close to shore on Browns Point side, looks like the two males are heading back up the channel along Vashon shore, along with at least one other mid channel ish, heading back towards Pt. Robinson.
9:50 a.m - two more Males mid channel heading towards Browns Point, on the Commencement Bay side of Quartermaster Harbor, small (research?) Boat following.
9:45 a.m. - ..Observed one Male heading towards Commencement Bay close to Marine View Dr. /Browns Point. From Ruston Way.
9:39 a.m - ...seeing blows behind the big container ship, spread put towards Commencement Bay, looks like at least 2 heading for Commencement Bay. From N. Stevens St & 46th. -Melissa Burke
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This was right off Point Defiance around 10:00am. There were 5 or 6 heading North. -Photo by Dave Kasperson, January 6, 2017
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(10:03 a.m.- K pod! K14 positively ID'd. Thanks to photos from Wayne McFarland, WSF and ID skills by Melisa Pinnow, Center for Whale Research.)
9:44 a.m. - Now moving east along Tacoma shoreline , 7-8 w/one bull, scattered on both sides of ferry lane.
9:01 a.m. - 5 to 6 one large bull male, out towards the point, still westbound.
8:57 a.m - Orcas in small groups, Owens Beach, PT Defiance and in ferry lane , moving west slowly. K14 while foraging with her family and other K pod members in Dalco Passage off Tacoma waterfront this morning. -Wayne McFarland, WSF
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9:10 a.m - More orcas reported trailing in ferry lanes.
8:59 a.m - Orcas - southend of Vashon. Heading south, spread out. Some are mid channel somewhere far over past Point Defiance Park, Owens Beach. Right now a large male and at least four females and I think a baby are headed over towards the park. They were moving fast. -Kelly Keenan
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9:00 a.m. - Mike at WS Ferries called to relay a report of 7-8 orcas in Dalco Passage, south end of Vashon Island. Not travelling.
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We launched our kayaks from Owen Beach just before 9, and it was pretty nerve-wracking to be in the water with them. Especially when they were spread most of the way between the Vashon Ferry and Gig Harbor. -Melissa Lovejoy Goldman
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We saw at least two Orcas around 0830 just SE of Vashon Island on the way to the Duwanish race start Des Moines on Sat. 6 Jan. They appeared to be going Southbound. -Lizabeth Rose
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I saw a lone orca off of Meadowdale Beach for roughly 30 minutes. It was trending back north around 1:00. -Photo by Brenda Taylor, January 6, 2017
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12:45 p.m. - Single orca Edmonds, northbound just off Meadowdale Beach Park in Edmonds, single adult, close to shore. He was just moving steadily north toward Mukilteo. -Cheryl Morgan
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Humpback whales - January 6 - Puget Sound - 3:50 p.m. - Just saw what looked like a small baleen whale just north of the North Vashon ferry dock headed north. Maybe the same one? (as report below). -Patrick Gould
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My swim group at Alki spotted what we believe was a humpback whale around 9:30am this morning heading towards Vashon. The colors on the underbelly match a humpback as well as the fluke match what we saw. Would love to see if there are any other reports of humpbacks in the area to confirm if it was that or a gray!...The one we saw was smaller and we were shocked to see it so close to the Alki bathhouse, maybe only 150-200 yards away. It came up to the surface, went under again, gave us a beautiful display of the fluke, and spouted several times as it swam towards the Alki Point Lighthouse. -Melissa Kegler
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Unidentified species - January 6 - Puget Sound - 3:50 p.m. - Just saw what looked like a small baleen whale just north of the North Vashon ferry dock headed north. Maybe the same one? (In response to morning report in humpback section - ALB) -Patrick Gould

January 5

Unidentified killer whales - January 5 - Admiralty Inlet - 3:05 p.m. - Spotted a pod of Orca Whales off the bow of the Kennewick Ferry on the way from Coupeville to Port Townsend at about 3:05pm on Friday. I'm really bad at estimating distance so I'll just say they were a ways off ahead of the boat. Hard to tell how many there were exactly but I saw at least three fins. They were traveling pretty close together and heading Southeast, towards the inner Puget Sound in between Whidbey and Marrowstone Island. Traveling, I think. 48.134, -122.710. My first sighting, yay! -Tyler Schexnayder
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3:01 p.m. - Group of 4-5 orca heading south towards Marrowstone Point. 1500. Seen from ferry. -Frederick Earl Dowell
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January 5 - Puget Sound - 2:16 p.m. - I just saw an orca about half a mile in front of the Mukilteo Ferry dock, can't tell you much as I only saw it briefly before it dove, but I only saw one and I think headed south. -Melissa Simmons

January 4

Bigg's/Transient killer whales - January 4 - Puget Sound - 2:45 p.m. - The pod is still grouped medium pace northbound approaching out from Apple Cove Point, west side of mid channel. They are Currently aimed to follow Kitsap towards Eglon but that could change. Research skiff has left.
2:30 p.m. - Nice pass in front of Kingston dock, keeping steady NB course. Approx 10 w/1 bull & 1 itty bitty little one...so cute. Too distant for IDs.
2:14 p.m. - Pod is still grouped now in west side of channel just past yellow mid channel marker off Richmond Beach, Shorelnie/Presidents Point, Kingston. Moving good steady pace towards Kingston
1:59 p.m. - Approaching south end Richmond Beach to the east and Jefferson Head/Point to the west, East of mid channel. Steady northbound. Skiff with them, presuming researcher Mark Sears. Rain not so friendly at the moment.
1:45 p.m. - Pod is grouped, out from Carkeek Park eastern side of mid channel steady northbound towards Richmond Beach. Flat clam sead, hazy! From Richmond Beach Saltwater Park. Bigg's/Transients in Puget Sound approaching Kingston ferry dock. Filmed from across the Sound at Kayu Kayu Ac park in Shoreline. -Alisa Lemire Brooks, Orca Network
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1334 - Just passed Golden Gardens NB toward Carkeek now. Facebook VIDEO. -Ariel Yseth ("Those are Ts and I am pretty sure T100C was in another video that was like this one" - Melisa Pinnow, CWR)
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1:30 p.m. - Orca sighting mid channel between Meadow Point and Kinsgton ferry landing headed north. 5 Orcas including 1 juvenile. - Michael Hamm
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1:11 p.m. - We spotted a group of whales (5+) after leaving Shilshole Marina - about 5 miles west, heading N E. No boats other than an approaching tug in the vicinity. -Virginia Anderson
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Taken at 1:13pm from Creosote Hill, Bainbridge Island. -Photo by Paula von Weller, January 4, 2018
("That is T100C there", Melisa Pinnow, Center for Whale Research)
1236: Alki group east of mid channel traveling north, now north of Eagle Harbor approaching Discovery Park, being trailed by two small boats. -Paul von Weller
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12:16 a.m. - Looks like a closed saddle patch, two large males in what now appears to be a group of 5+, with one little one. Big tail slaps. NB now.
12:13 a.m. - appears that they are slowly moving NB, possibly towards Murden Cove. At least 3-4 of them.
11:56 a.m. - lots of surface activity, feeding, breaching. Enormously tall dorsal fin on one male. Mid channel looks like off of Yeomalt Point. We are looking from Alki, they are far from us, miles from us. -Pia VanHanen
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1156: group originally off Alki now appear to be moving slowly north, being followed by flock of seagulls and small boat with dark hull/white cabin, still appear to be mid channel
1142: westbound Bainbridge ferry just passed on the south side of orcas (8 counted by ferry observer), orcas being followed by flock of seagulls. -Paul von Weller
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11:40 a.m. - he now sees the 2nd group in same general area as reported by Paula. Ferry lane, south of westbound Seattle/Bainbridge ferry, middle channel, from his view maybe a bit more west side of mid channel. Very surface active.
11:30 a.m. - have eyes on 2-3 milling at the north end of Blake Island, trending Southbound. -Calls from Jeff Hogan
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11:23 a.m - Milling at North tip of Blake. -Kersti Muul
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1111: group off Alki still in same general location, moving slowly at surface between dives, no direction of travel, still changing direction, milling. -Paul von Weller
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11:04 a.m. - Jeff Hogan called. He is seeing only 1 animal within 1/2 mile of beach off south end of Bainbridge - milling and non directional. They have no orcas near them at Alki/West Seattle.
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10:52 a.m - Visible from sunset in west Seattle. One seen so far at South end of Bainbridge. Way on west side of channel. -Kersti Muul
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1055: still in same location as 1023. Lots of surface activity, lobtailing, thrashing, breaching
1023: Lots of surface activity, lobtailing, breaching, appear to be heading north. Too far for me to get photos or see saddle patches currently
1018: 8+ orcas (at least 1 adult male) off Alki, changing direction, appear to be foraging, closer to Alki, being viewed from Creosote Hill on Bainbridge Island. -Paul von Weller
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Susan Marie Andersson just sent in this report: 10:10 a.m. - Friend just reported 2 orcas west bound off Alki. She was on the 9:30 ferry from Bainbridge Island. Trying to get more info. (Reliable biologist).
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January 4 - Saratoga Passage - Received by email on the 6th: I'm just north of Shangri La Shores. I heard a blow nite before last (4th) and heard and saw a sea lion by the dock there yesterday (5th). -Glen Goodwin
January 3

Haro Strait - First Encounter of 2018! Transients in Haro Strait....At 1312, "Morning Star" found the T100s, T124As, and T124C traveling quickly east a mile east of Trial Island. As the whales porpoised past Discovery Island in rough seas, the T100s and T124As split up and regrouped multiple times. Most of the time, T124C trailed behind the group(s) by a few hundred yards but on occasion would join up with T100C or with the group(s)...For full summary report w/photos see Center for Whale Research Encounter 1.
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After coming north up mid-Haro as far as Lime Kiln, the T100s, T124As, and T124C flipped south. They aimed in towards shore and at 15:40 were southbound at Pile Point. -Monika Wieland Shields
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3:15 p.m. - Orca sighting Haro Strait. 5-6 orca seen traveling east between Pt Edwards and Pile Pt (approaching Pile). One large male and possibly a youngster. Seen from shore. Video attached taken with phone when they were already past me. -Michelline Halliday
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Dolphins/Porpoise - January 3 - Just spotted a pod of NINE dolphin or harbor porpoise slowly heading south in Saratoga Passage around 9:15 this morning. They were feeding in our kelp bed below which is at the most northern point of Camano State Park. Beautiful sight! -Lisa & Scott Pate
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Minke whales - January 3 - 9:00 a.m. - Minke at Lime Kiln just south of the Lighthouse close to shore surfaced and blew then dived. Feeding, surfaced, blew then submerged not deep but did not resurface....I was really thrilled to see it surface so close to the cliffs. -Carolyn Spence

January 2



January 1

Southern Residents - January 1- Puget Sound - (Based on numbers and confirmed IDs, looks to be just a K13 sub pod of Ks traveling inland Puget Sound again. - ALB)
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K20, K38, K25 and K34 were confirmed. -Kersti Muul
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3:20 p.m. - viewing from Fay Bainbridge. Line of sight passing tank farm (Point Wells, Woodway) northbound at a good clip. Some surface activity but mostly long down times and a bit spread out. East side of channel. Red research (?) boat was with them for a brief time. -Susan Marie Andersson
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1450: still visible from Rolling Bay heading northbound, research vessel just trailing them, tight group of at least 5 inc 2 males, still closer to Bainbridge.
1430: tight group of 3-4 inc 1 adult male northbound visible from Rolling Bay, closer to Bainbridge side. -Paula von Weller
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2:05 p.m. - with Connie B at Rolling Bay. Three orcas heading northbound! Happy New Year. -Sue Larkin
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1:58 p.m. - Found them south of the yellow channel marker that is south of Discovery Lighthouse (West Point, Discovery Park, Magnolia). They were on the west side of mid channel. At least 3, appear to be foraging. (Viewing from Valley Road on Bainbridge Island. -Connie Bickerton
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11:37 a.m - Jeff Hogan reports from Alki, a single male, maybe one other, heading north across the Bainbridge ferry lane.
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11:18 a.m. - Sounds like they are mid-channel north and east bound off Restoration Point, Bainbridge.
10:45 a.m. - Kimberly just spotted them off southend of Bainbridge. Waiting for more info. -Susan Marie Andersson
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North end of Colvos Passage (west side Vashon) at least 3 Orcas headed north toward Blake Island about 9:25 am. Happy New Year! -W.p. Sullivan
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Bigg's/Transient killer whales - January 1 - Active Pass - There were a couple of whales heading west through the Pass around 4 pm too! What a sweet way to start the New Year. Seen from the shore of Galiano Island between 10 and 11 am, two groups of orcas went west through Active Pass, hunted awhile around Helen Point and then came back eastward through the Pass. Hope this year is a better year for the orcas. Happy New Year. -Karoline Cullen
(ID notes from 2 photos below by Melisa Pinnow, CWR: "T36As, T36Bs, and the T137s at least, maybe the T99s too")
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January 1- San Juan Channel - Starting the new year off with a beautiful group of transient killer whales complete with three new calves. We found the T49As (including T49A2, but with T49A1 still off galavanting around), the T75Bs, and the T75Cs just as the sunset with the Olympic rising in the distance. T49As, T75Bs, and T75Cs (cool so be able to say it's the 75Cs, plural!). They were found at Reuben Tarte and we left them at sunset in Griffin Bay, out from Jakles still heading down towards Cattle, but deep in the bay. The three new babies were all present and looked good. -Sara Hysong-Shimazu
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January 1- Haro Strait - Staying at house just north of Eagle Pt on San Juan Island. We stepped outside not long after midnight to see if we could hear the fireworks that we were watching across the straight. Yes, we heard fireworks, but we also heard whales breathing. They had just come around Eagle Pt, heading north. Not far off shore, we could see dorsal fins in the light of the full moon. Probably 4-5 orcas, could not tell gender. They passed by in about 5-7 minutes. Happy New Year! -Lynn Dietz with Grant & Megan Marshall

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